Euradvice from a trusted source IWe have European MEP and local elections coming up this week, so we are going to be visited, even up our remote lane, by candidates wishing (us) to contribute to the democratic process. A tuthree weeks ago The Beloved forw me an e-mail from a friend of a friend of a friend of Aisling FitzGibbon thegirlagainstfluoride exhorting us all to pull sharply on the lapel of anyone who appears on the doorstep looking for votes. As she says on her tin, Aisling wants us to request-and-require our political representatives to ban the involuntary addition of fluoride to our water supply. After compelling my EnvChem students to get their teeth into some research on the issue, I have a position on this which is more or less in agreement with TGAF, although perhaps not so vehement. Hey Lads: it's not too late to buy the 2014 calendar in which she and her pals get their kit off for the cause.
One of the many things that is annoying about the fluoride issue is the amount of inertia in the system. Fluoride was first introduced into the water supply in Ireland in the 1960s, slavishly following the Brits who can afford to carry out research on matters of bio-medico-enviro importance. The evidence back then was that fluoride could significantly lower the rate of dental caries, which was a cause of distress, disfigurement and lost work-days. The case is now altered; the rest of Europe having taken the opposite position. Tooth decay has gratifyingly declined across the continent and indeed the OECD whether governments fluoridate or don't. But we're still shelling out €4million each year for something that is wastefully administered, of doubtful dental efficacy and potentially damaging to other aspects of our health. Traditionally in Ireland, we barrack our public representatives about wholly local, NIMBY, selfish issues: pot-holes in the roads, a discretionary medical card for my mum/charlady/trisomy21-neighbour. This year it will be wind-farms and high-tension electricity routes. I may explain what the issues are later to my Ukrainian and Russian readers but I may not: none of the people I know who are getting all exercised about these power-infrastructural issues have thrown away their kettle, microwave, or electric drill as a way of reconciling supply and demand.
I suggest that anyone coming to the door with the Fáinne of the Republican Party be asked ironically if FF stands for For Fluoride. I'm sure we can think of similar jibes that will leave candidates from other parties speechless and flustered. Not having television, we have few enough things to amuse us.And it will be a welcome change for the WannaBeRepresentative not to trot out their empty platitudes about filling pot-holes.