Thursday, November 13, 2014

Misrepresentation of Dietary Exposure to Fluoride by Food Safety Authority of Ireland: A Threat to Public Health







In 2002, a study published in the International Journal of Clinical Chemistry measured the fluoride levels in beers available in Great Britain.[i] The highest fluoride level measured was in Guinness, which the authors reported contained 1.12mg/L of fluoride. The authors of the study concluded that beers brewed in locations with high fluoride water levels may contribute significantly to the daily fluoride intake, particularly in alcohol misusing subjects and this may contribute to alcohol-associated bone disease. The high levels of fluoride measured in this study are to be expected.  Guinness, like all major beer producers in Ireland use fluoridated public water in the production of beer. 

In 2011, the Food Safety Authority in Ireland reported that the fluoride levels in beer produced consumed in Ireland were less than < 0.05mg per litre. Astonishingly, no data was provided on the brand of beer tested, the number of alcoholic beverages tested or whether the beer was produced in Ireland or imported.  
It is inconcievable that beer products produced using fluoridated water would contain this concentration of fluoride.  To confirm this fact I undertook independent scientific testing of forty two alcoholic beverages undertaken using the American Society of Testing and Material (ASTM) and EPA standard methodologies for fluoride determination. The results conclusively demonstrate that the levels of fluoride reported by the FSAI are grossly inaccurate. The results determined that the fluoride levels in beers and stouts produced in Ireland vary between 0.4 and 0.8mg/l.  Similar levels were measured in New Zealand beers where fluoridated water was used in the production process. This evidence demonstrates that the reported level of fluoride in beers as reported by the FSAI was in the order of 16 times below the concentration present in beers and stouts produced in the Republic of Ireland. 

Quality Standards in Scientific Studies





In any scientific study basic quality standards must apply. The first is that sampling must be representative and the chain of custody must be documented. The second it that the analysis, procedures and controls must be adequate to ensure that the study is objective and every measure must be taken to ensure that basic quality control procudures were adhered to.

I have sought from the Food Safety Authority  the chain of custody records for their study, in order determine the quality control procedures, identify who took the sample and what brand of beer or other products were tested. No information could be provided by the FSAI. The only logical conclusion one can make from observation is this is that the sample of beer tested was one that was an imported beer from non fluoridated Europe. 

Similarly, when the fluoride level of tea was measured by the FSAI, the fluoride level was found to be significantly below the reported concentrations measured in all international studies. When queried on this, the FSAI reported that the sample of tea was not taken by the FSAI itself but rather by a staff member of the Dental College in University College Cork.  

Very serious questions have to be asked as to why the FSAI allowed the Dental College to take samples and why no records are available as to who took the samples or what brand of products were tested.  It is entirely unacceptable that such  poor standards of scientific research are tolerated for what is essential research into the dietary intake of fluoride by the Irish population. 

Remarkably, the FSAI study is used as evidence by the Minister for Health to demonstrate that the population of Ireland have low dietary exposure to fluoride. Yet thefluoride levels in beer and tea reported in this study are in the order of 2000 and 4000 per cent below the actual measured levels . 

In the FSAI study, not one of the most basic requirements for ensuring scientific accuracy were met, but more importantly the misrepresentations of dietary intake of fluoride present a significant threat to public health.


[i] Warnakulasuriya S, Harris C, Gelbier S, Keating J, Peters T. 2002. Fluoride content of alcoholic beverages. Clin Chim Acta 320:1–4.

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