A new working group has been established to “develop proposals” around fluoride surveillance, the Medical Independent (MI) has been told.
Earlier this year, MI reported that the Irish Expert Body on Fluorides and Health had been disbanded at the end of 2022.
Since 2004, the body had monitored new and emerging issues on fluoride and its effects on health and related matters. For almost two decades it had provided advice to the Minister for Health on all aspects of fluoride.
The group had written to the Department of Health in the final months of last year to say it was “extremely disappointed” with the lack of “engagement” and “succession plan” from the Department over its future.
The Department told MI that a new body is now in place after the Health Research Board was commissioned to review modern international approaches to fluoride surveillance.
“From this review, a fluoridation surveillance working group was established this year and tasked with developing proposals for a new model for surveillance of the public health impact of water fluoridation, to reflect best practice,” the spokesperson told this newspaper. A total of two meetings have taken place to date and further meetings are planned.
Since 1964, legislation requires that public water supplies are fluoridated and that the Minister for Health keeps the health of those receiving fluoridated water under surveillance.
The national oral health policy (Smile agus Sláinte) supports the continuation of water fluoridation, which has been in place in Ireland since the 1960s.