Fluoride review finds no negative impact on health

No definitive evidence to prove that artificial fluoridation poses a risk to general health, says HRB study

A review of the existing evidence looking at the health effects of community water fluoridation has concluded there to be no definitive evidence of negative health effects.

As a result of a request by the Department of Health, the Health Research Board (HRB) looked into existing research on the impact of artificially fluoridated water between 0.4 and 1.5 parts per million, on the systemic health (excluding dental health) of the population.

Dr Marie Sutton, lead author of the report at the HRB, said: “Research specifically examining the association between community water fluoridation and health effects is scarce. Most of the studies reviewed are not of a suitable design to prove, or disprove, a link between fluoride consumption and negative health effects.

“Two studies that we reviewed in non-endemic regions did suggest a potential link between fluoride and negative health effects in the areas of bone health (osteosarcoma) and thyroid disease. Neither of these studies has the methodological rigour required to provide conclusive evidence that fluoride was responsible for these negative health effects.

“Having examined the evidence, and given the lack of studies of appropriate design, further research would be required to establish any link between fluoride and negative health effects.”

The president of the Irish Dental Association, Dr Anne Twomey, said the Association would study the findings carefully. She said: “The review found no definitive evidence to link fluoridation to increased bone fractures, reduced IQ, cancer, heart disease, kidney disorders, Down Syndrome or increased mortality from all causes. In relation to an alleged link to bone cancer, it said the literature pointed to ‘mixed’ effects and no link had been proven.

“The HRB review follows 15 major peer-reviewed studies of fluoridation undertaken across the world by recognised academic authorities in the past 20 years. None of these major reviews has concluded that community water fluoridation poses a known risk to general health or has suggested halting water fluoridation.

“These, and other reviews which dealt solely with oral health, show a significant benefit to dental health and through this to general health.”