Another in-depth review has found that there is no definitive evidence that water fluoridation has negative health effects.
The review into the existing research conducted by the Health Research Board (HRB) was undertaken at the request of the Department of Health.
The Department asked the HRB to determine “what is the impact, positive or negative, on the systemic health (excluding dental health) of the population for those exposed to artificially fluoridated water between 0.4 and 1.5 parts per million”.
There were two previously-published, highly-regarded systematic reviews on this topic, the York Review in 2000 and the Australian review in 2007.
The HRB review adds to their work by examining all additional internationally peer-reviewed papers on the topic of fluoride and health effects between 2006 and 2014.
The research related to musculoskeletal effects, IQ and neurological manifestations, cancer, cardiovascular disease, kidney disorders, thyroid disease, Down’s syndrome and mortality from any cause.
Dr Graham Love, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board, says that many studies had an “inappropriate design”.
Having examined the research available, the HRB has found no definitive evidence that community water fluoridation is associated with positive or negative systemic health effects.
“Given the lack of peer-reviewed research and the inappropriate design of many studies to detect a causal relationship, further research would be required to provide definitive proof.”
According to Dr Marie Sutton, lead author of the report at the HRB, 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.
“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, welcomed the findings.
“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.”