Health Minister Yael German 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy Knesset)
As pediatricians and dentists charged that it would harm children’s dental
well-being, Health Minister Yael German said Thursday that municipalities and
local authorities would in a year no longer have to fluoridate their drinking
German, who previously as mayor of Herzliya opposed “forcing”
residents to take the mineral with every drop they drink, said there were more
effective and safer ways to protect children’s teeth – such as fluoride pills,
toothpastes and education.
She said she signed new regulations for
stricter supervision of water supplies that included canceling mandatory
fluoridation. German then even appealed to the High Court of Justice against the
Health Ministry’s requirement – since 2002 – that water be fluoridated in every
authority with at least 5,000 residents.
But the Israel Pediatrics
Society said that bringing the national fluoridation project to a halt in
another year “is liable to harm children’s dental health. Adding fluoride is the
safest, most efficient and egalitarian way of reducing the prevalence of dental
caries. It also provides clear economic and social benefits.”
parents don’t ensure their children’s health by brushing with toothpaste and
avoiding sweets, even poor children will be protected, the society
Society head Prof. Eli Somech and director-general Dr. Tzahi
Grossman said they were “convinced that the procedure is safe and that 400
million people in 60 countries – especially the youngsters – benefit from an
optimal level of fluoride in their drinking water.”
Many decades of
research and public statements by governmental and nongovernmental organizations
have “already announced publicly that they support the continuation of
fluoridation. Among them are the World Health Organization, the US Center for
Disease Control and Prevention, the American Medical Association and the
American Pediatrics Academy. The WHO has even come out with a statement
supporting the Israel Pediatrics Society in its position.
But German said
that the regulations that require fluoridation have expired and that
“professional views are in dispute.” She said that opponents of fluoridation
claim it could cause osteoporosis, reduction of insulin efficacy in dealing with
sugar, the accumulation of aluminum in the body, IQ reduction and fluorosis
(spotting of teeth).
As the Health Ministry has responsibility for
monitoring water quality, it is also responsible for monitoring on
Ministry director-general Prof.
Ronni Gamzu said
that during the coming year, the ministry will invest funds to help the
socioeconomically disadvantaged protect their teeth in other ways, if local
authorities decide not to continue fluoridating their drinking water.
voluntary organization Adam, Teva Ve’Din – which has for the last decade tried
to change regulations regarding water standards, including better monitoring of
contaminants – congratulated German on her decision, because water quality
standards are “outdated.”
It said that during the coming year, there will
be time for a public debate to decide if fluoridation is harmful or beneficial.