Oman: Adding sodium fluoride to water systems in order to prevent dental caries has been a common practice worldwide since 1951.
Yet a growing number of anti-fluoride activists claim that sodium fluoride is a dangerous substance which, when ingested, can have many adverse effects. Eighty per cent of tap water in Oman is fluoridated.
The Public Authority for Electricity & Water (PAEW) operates 32 desalination plants and purchases water from eight private desalination plants, according to Abdullah al Naimi, PAEW control centre manager. “Up to 213,000 m3 of water is produced daily and some desalination plants add sodium fluoride to a level below 1.5mg/l as per Omani Water Standards and World Health Organisation guidelines.”
However, Paul Beeber, president of the New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, believes fluoridation is not only ineffective in reducing tooth decay, it is harmful to health and is also a waste of money. “I don’t think Oman or any country should add fluoride chemicals into their citizenry via the water supply based on what the US does.”
“You (Oman) should do your own research and be objective about it and not blindly trust that endorsing organisations researched the subject. Fluoridation opposition is scientific, respectable and growing and more than 4,176 professionals including 341 dentists and 531 medical doctors urge that fluoridation be stopped, citing scientific evidence that ingesting fluoride is ineffective at reducing tooth decay and has serious health risks,” he said. “Even more alarming is 33 studies, which link fluoride exposure to lowered IQ in children along with 100 animal studies linking fluoride to brain defects,” he added.
Beeber explained that unlike naturally occurring fluorides, the sodium fluoride added to water networks is a byproduct of aluminium and phosphate industries.
“Instruments catch and capture the sodium fluoride in smoke stacks and it is later sold to us. If those companies couldn’t sell phosphate fertiliser waste to fluoridating communities, they would have to treat it like hazardous waste and dispose it in a way that would probably cost them money,” he said.
Further, cities in the US like Milwaukee, Phoenix, Santa Fe, Portland and New York are said to be in the middle of fluoridation battles in one way or another. “Americans are starting to question and reject fluoridation and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) admits that up to 60 per cent of US children are fluoride overdosed and affected with dental fluorosis,” he added.
For & Against Fluoridation
Countries that have opted for fluoride-free water
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, India, Japan, China
Countries that fluoridate their water
Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Malaysia, USA, Vietnam, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore
© Muscat Daily 2012Aug 2012