Return of fluoridation ‘approved,’ but could be revoked next week

Opponents of the practice argue that small amounts of fluoride gas added to water supplies are "poison."

March 17, 2016 05:59
1 minute read.
Former health minister Yael German

Former health minister Yael German. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

The fluoridation of drinking water may be resumed, according to a decision by the Knesset Interior Committee on Wednesday – but this change could be reversed when a proposed revision to the law is considered next week.

Two years ago, then-health minister MK Yael German (Yesh Atid) fought fluoridation, has been practiced for decades here and around the world to fight tooth decay, especially in children. She argued that citizens should “not be forced to consume something they did not want,” even though she did not oppose the “forced” chlorination of the drinking water.

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Public health authorities in the Health Ministry have long been strong backers of fluoridation and were upset when German overturned the law through legislation as minister. MK Ya’acov Litzman, then deputy health minister and now as minister, was furious over her law banning fluoridation and was determined to restore it.

Opponents of the practice argue that small amounts of fluoride gas added to water supplies are “poison.”

Likud MK Bennie Begin, who was once science minister and is a geologist by profession, came out at Wednesday’s meeting on the side of fluoridation. So did Prof. Jonathan Mann, head of community dentistry at the Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Dental Medicine.

“Economically, for every dollar you invest in fluoridation, you save $43 in dental care. It is healthful, social and helps the poor,” he insisted.

But anti-fluoridation activists Sarit Caspi and Michal Rosen argued that fluoridated water is an “unknown cocktail” and its use harms people’s rights. The discussion will resume next week.

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