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Do Most Other Countries have fluoridation?

POSTED: 10 July 2018

Most New Zealanders think that fluoridation is practiced in most countries, or at least most western, countries. In fact, contrary to the impression given by many fluoridation promoters, the vast majority of countries in the world – including China, India, Japan, and nearly all European countries – do not fluoridate their water. Only about thirty countries in the world have some percentage of their population drinking fluoridated water, and of those only seven have more than 50 percent of their population doing so: Australia, Columbia, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States.

The European Experience

The following European countries have never fluoridated their water: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway and Russia.

Countries that started fluoridation in one or more towns but have since stopped include the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany (West and East), the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland.

Austria, France, Germany and Switzerland do have some salt fluoridated.

Only 10% of the UK and 10% of Spain are fluoridated. The Republic of Ireland is the only country European country with significant fluoridation at 70% of the population.

Why do European Countries not fluoridate?

Another common misperception is that New Zealand water supplies are particularly low in fluoride and European countries do not have fluoridation because they have high naturally occurring fluoride in their water. This in fact, is not true. New Zealand water supplies contain, on average around 01.ppm, which is about the same as the European countries listed above.

The other reason given for European countries not fluoridating is that they have old water systems that have provided too many technical difficulties. This, of course, is not true either. Most European countries are more advanced than New Zealand and are among the wealthiest in the world. And as explained above, some of them had fluoridation for a time but have since rejected it.

Here are the reasons given by the various health authorities of  the European countries;

Austria:

“Toxic fluorides have never been added to the public water supplies in Austria.”
SOURCE: M. Eisenhut, Head of Water Department, Osterreichische Yereinigung fur das Gas-und Wasserfach Schubertring 14, A-1015 Wien, Austria, February 17, 2000.

Belgium:

“This water treatment has never been of use in Belgium and will never be (we hope so) into the future. The main reason for that is the fundamental position of the drinking water sector that it is not its task to deliver medicinal treatment to people. This is the sole responsibility of health services.”
SOURCE: Chr. Legros, Directeur, Belgaqua, Brussels, Belgium, February 28, 2000.

Denmark:

“We are pleased to inform you that according to the Danish Ministry of Environment and Energy, toxic fluorides have never been added to the public water supplies. Consequently, no Danish city has ever been fluoridated.”
SOURCE: Klaus Werner, Royal Danish Embassy, Washington DC, December 22, 1999.

Finland:

“We do not favor or recommend fluoridation of drinking water. There are better ways of providing the fluoride our teeth need.”
SOURCE: Paavo Poteri, Acting Managing Director, Helsinki Water, Finland, February 7, 2000.

France:

“Fluoride chemicals are not included in the list [of ‘chemicals for drinking water treatment’]. This is due to ethical as well as medical considerations.”
SOURCE: Louis Sanchez, Directeur de la Protection de l’Environment, August 25, 2000.

Germany:

“Generally, in Germany fluoridation of drinking water is forbidden. The relevant German law allows exceptions to the fluoridation ban on application. The argumentation of the Federal Ministry of Health against a general permission of fluoridation of drinking water is the problematic nature of compuls[ory] medication.”
SOURCE: Gerda Hankel-Khan, Embassy of Federal Republic of Germany, September 16, 1999.

Luxembourg:

“Fluoride has never been added to the public water supplies in Luxembourg. In our views, the drinking water isn’t the suitable way for medicinal treatment and that people needing an addition of fluoride can decide by their own to use the most appropriate way, like the intake of fluoride tablets, to cover their [daily] needs.”
SOURCE: Jean-Marie RIES, Head, Water Department, Administration De L’Environment, May 3, 2000.

Netherlands:

“From the end of the 1960s until the beginning of the 1970s drinking water in various places in the Netherlands was fluoridated to prevent caries. However, in its judgement of 22 June 1973 in case No. 10683 (Budding and co. versus the City of Amsterdam) the Supreme Court (Hoge Raad) ruled there was no legal basis for fluoridation. After that judgement, amendment to the Water Supply Act was prepared to provide a legal basis for fluoridation. During the process it became clear that there was not enough support from Parlement [sic] for this amendment and the proposal was withdrawn.”
SOURCE: Wilfred Reinhold, Legal Advisor, Directorate Drinking Water, Netherlands, January 15, 2000.

Northern Ireland:

“The water supply in Northern Ireland has never been artificially fluoridated except in 2 small localities where fluoride was added to the water for about 30 years up to last year. Fluoridation ceased at these locations for operational reasons. At this time, there are no plans to commence fluoridation of water supplies in Northern Ireland.”
SOURCE: C.J. Grimes, Department for Regional Development, Belfast, November 6, 2000.

Norway:

“In Norway we had a rather intense discussion on this subject some 20 years ago, and the conclusion was that drinking water should not be fluoridated.”
SOURCE: Truls Krogh & Toril Hofshagen, Folkehelsa Statens institutt for folkeheise (National Institute of Public Health) Oslo, Norway, March 1, 2000.

Sweden:

“Drinking water fluoridation is not allowed in Sweden…New scientific documentation or changes in dental health situation that could alter the conclusions of the Commission have not been shown.”
SOURCE: Gunnar Guzikowski, Chief Government Inspector, Livsmedels Verket — National Food Administration Drinking Water Division, Sweden, February 28, 2000.

Czech Republic:

“Since 1993, drinking water has not been treated with fluoride in public water supplies throughout the Czech Republic. Although fluoridation of drinking water has not actually been proscribed it is not under consideration because this form of supplementation is considered:

  • uneconomical (only 0.54% of water suitable for drinking is used as such; the remainder is employed for hygiene etc.
  • unecological (environmental load by a foreign substance)
  • unethical (“forced medication”)
  • toxicologically and physiologically debateable (fluoridation represents an untargeted form of supplementation which disregards actual individual intake and requirements and may lead to excessive health-threatening intake in certain population groups.
    SOURCE: Dr. B. Havlik, Ministerstvo Zdravotnictvi Ceske Republiky, October 14, 1999.

 

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