102 American Dental Association Critical review of any new evidence on the hazard profile, health effects, and human exposure to fluoride and the fluoridating agents of drinking water was released in 2011.95 It stated that exposure to levels of fluoride used for fluoridation of drinking water is not expected to lead to unacceptable risks to the environment. Additionally, the report concluded there was insufficient evidence or no evidence that fluoridation was linked to endemic skeletal fluorosis, osteosarcoma, lower IQs in children, thyroid or reproductive problems.95 There are parts of the world where water fluoridation is not common. In some of these instances water fluoridation is not feasible due to the lack of a central water supply, the existence of other more life-threatening health needs, the lack of trained technical personnel or sufficient funds for start-up and maintenance costs. In some cases where water fluoridation has not been implemented, countries have chosen to institute salt fluoridation programs. 67. Is community water fluoridation banned in Europe? Answer. No country in Europe bans community water fluoridation. Fact. Under European Union (EU) law and regulations, the individual Member States can decide whether to or not to fluoridate water. Members of the European Union (EU) construct their own water quality regulations within the framework of the Drinking Water Directive97 adopted in 1998 which outlines the quality of water intended for human consumption. They can also decide whether to or not to add fluoride to milk or salt products. There is no EU-wide obligation to add fluoride to any product consumed by humans including water nor is there an EU-wide obligation not to add fluoride to any product including water.87 The Directive provides maximum admissible concentrations for many substances, one of which is fluoride. The Directive does not require or prohibit fluoridation it merely requires that the fluoride concentration in water does not exceed the maximum permissible concentration of 1.5 mg/L.97 Many fluoridation systems that used to operate in Eastern and Central Europe did not function properly and when the Iron Curtain fell in 1989-90, fluoridation stopped because of obsolete technical equipment and lack of knowledge as to the benefits of fluoridated water.88 Water fluoridation is not practical in some European countries because of complex water systems with numerous water sources. As an alternative to water fluoridation, many European countries have opted for the use of dietary fluoride supplements or salt fluoridation. Basel, Switzerland is one such example.98 Those opposed to water fluoridation claimed a large victory when Basel voted to cease water fluoridation in 2003. The facts are that Basel was the lone city with fluoridated water surrounded by communities that used fluoridated salt. In the mid-1990s, trade barriers that had prevented fluoridated salt from being sold to those living in Basel fell and soon it was evident that residents were receiving fluoride from salt as well as through drinking water. The government voted to cease water fluoridation in 2003 in light of availability and use of fluoridated salt in the community. Basel, Switzerland did not stop providing fluoride. Officials simply chose another type of fluoridation salt fluoridation.98 Again, no European country bans fluoridation. It has simply not been implemented for a variety of technical, legal, financial or political reasons. Those opposed to fluoridation sometimes comment that “97% of western Europe has rejected water fluoridation,” although frequently the line becomes “most of Europe has rejected water fluoridation.” But what is not mentioned is that there are a number of countries in Europe that have opted to use fluoridated salt or milk fluoridation. (Additional information on this topic can be found in Benefits Section, Question 14.) Letters have appeared on the internet reportedly from officials in foreign countries who comment negatively regarding their country’s position on fluoridation. However, from the letters it is apparent the writers are responding to a question that is not publically available and that was designed to illicit a negative response. Additionally the credentials of the respondents do not provide any insight as to what relationship, if any, they have with the governmental bodies who have jurisdiction over fluoridation practices in their respective countries. These letters should not be construed as any country’s official position on fluoridation.
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