HRB publishes review on health effects of community water fluoridation

No definitive evidence that community water fluoridation has negative health effects.

The Health Research Board(HRB) published an in-depth evidence review of existing research in relation to the health effects of community water fluoridation.

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 inappropriate design of many studies to detect causal relationships, further research is required to provide definitive proof.

The Department of Health asked the Health Research Board 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(ppm)

Two previously-published, highly-regarded systematic reviews on this topic, the York Review (2000)* and Australian review (2007)**. The HRB review presents the evidence provided in these reviews and examines all additional research published in internationally peer-reviewed papers on the topic of fluoride and health effects from 2006 to June 2014***. This research related to musculoskeletal effects, IQ and neurological manifestations, cancer, cardiovascular disease, kidney disorders, thyroid disease, Down’s syndrome and mortality from any cause.

In addition to examining research in areas of artificially fluoridated water between 0.4 and 1.5 ppm (non-endemic areas), the HRB also examined the research available in areas where fluoride occurs naturally in the water at much higher levels (endemic areas). It is important to note that these endemic areas are in many ways different to community fluoridated areas, such as Ireland, both in terms of the level of fluoride in the water and/or many other aspects pertaining to health, for example, poor nutrition or the lack of essential vitamins and micronutrients.

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