Forum Minutes of Meetings
Minutes of meeting of the Forum on Fluoridation of 14
The Boardroom, Dublin Dental Hospital
Professor Fottrell welcomed everyone. As this was Dr
Cullen’s first attendance at a meeting of the Forum, she introduced
herself and gave brief background information.
Professor Fottrell thanked Professor Clarkson for
arranging for the Forum to have the Boardroom of the Dublin Dental
Hospital for this meeting.
Professor Fottrell gave apologies for the members who
could not attend this meeting.
Joint presentation by Drury Research and the Dental
Health Foundation, Ireland concerning the results of their recent survey
on the public’s attitude to the issue of fluoridation. Main presenters:
- Ms Annette Bolger, Drury Research (DR), and
- Ms Deirdre Sadlier, Dental Health Foundation, Ireland
Contributions also made by:
- Dr Paul Beirne (Research Fellow, UCC)
- Ms Breeda Hyland (DHFI).
(The fifth participant in this research, Ms Fiona
Barbagallo, was unavoidably absent but forwarded a synopsis of her
recommendations which will be circulated by the Secretariat. It was agreed
that the content of her submission will be discussed at a future meeting
as engagement of the public is crucial to the work of the Forum.)
Documentation provided by DR and DHFI (i.e. text of
presentation) will be circulated by Secretariat.
Presentation followed by discussion/ Q&A.
In response to a question, Ms Bolger stated that
toothlessness was found to be higher in females with children than in
A member of the Forum indicated that in the member’s
opinion the public dental service is in crisis at the moment due to lack
of staff resources.
It was pointed out by a Forum member that in Northern
Ireland the emphasis is on oral health promotion whereas in the Republic
there is more reliance on water fluoridation to improve dental health/
lessen caries. There is a much lower level of caries in the Republic. The
member of the Forum further stated that he is unsure of the extent to
which people’s attitudes can be changed via health promotion/ education.
One point of interest from the presentation by DR and
the DHFI was that a large number of the respondents were content to leave
decisions regarding fluoridation to the Department of Health and Children
regardless of any perceptions regarding possible bias etc.
One of the presenters made the point that there is a
need for more interpretative analysis in the media - not just presentation
of one side of the argument versus another - suggested that the Forum
consider making a recommendation in this regard.
Agreement that the Forum needs to address the issue of
consent in relation to fluoridation i.e. individual’s right to choose
should be discussed. Following a suggestion by the Chairman, Professor O’Brien
agreed to contact Professor Binchy to suggest that he make a presentation
regarding ethics/ rights etc.
Professor Fottrell thanked the invited speakers for an
interesting discussion and the latter then left.
Minutes of meeting of 9 November 2000
The minutes of the meeting of 9 November 2000 were
discussed - the following changes to be made:
(i) no 13, page 5 - should read ".... would be
willing to take on regular analysis of hydrofluosilicic acid"
instead of "........analysis of water"
(Mr Moyles explained that this process has already
commenced in conjunction with the Eastern Regional Health Authority.)
(ii) no 12, page 5 - Mr Moyles noted that he had been
unaware that he was to participate in the drafting of recommendations
regarding engineering but is willing to do so
(iii) no 11, page 5 - Professor Clarkson will give
report on the epidemiology contract in relation to fluoridation; Dr
Jacinta McLoughlin in DDH may also be contacted in this regard for further
(iv) query on no 17, page 7 - when dealing with the
press, are individual members of the Forum allowed to express their
personal opinions on the issues under discussion? Clarification by
Chairman - if/when interviewed in relation to fluoridation, a member
should clearly express the Forum’s terms of reference and may give an
outline of the Forum’s progress to date - if he/she wishes to then give
a personal opinion they may proceed to do so but making it clear that it
is their personal opinion.
(v) apologies to Professor O’Mullane whose name was
accidentally omitted from the list of attendees at the meeting of 9
(vi) paragraph entitled "Informal Presentation by
Ms Gallagher", page 6 -"....... the extent of the anti-fluoridation
view...." should read "... the extent of the pro-fluoridation
Matters arising from the Minutes
(a) Where appropriate, summaries of scientific papers
will be submitted/circulated in future rather than the complete
documentation in order to allow members to cover more ground - those
interested in more detail on a particular article may contact the
Secretariat for a complete version
(b) Following on from the meeting of 9 November 2000,
Dr O’Connor contacted the Secretariat with the name of a Principal
Environmental Heath Officer who would be interested in giving a
presentation to, or being a member of, the Forum; however, with regard to
protocol should the Forum contact the Environmental Health Officers’
Association (i.e. their professional/ representative body) in order to
elicit a nominee? Agreed that the PEHO in question should be invited to
make a presentation to the Forum
(c) Asked members for nominations regarding
bio-statistician (to be member or advisor) - while there are several
members of the Forum who work with statistics, it was agreed that it would
be preferable to have an expert available to advise on the complex issues
at hand; Dr Johnson nominated two individuals and Professor O’Mullane
indicated that he may also be able to nominate a suitably qualified and
experienced individual. There was discussion as to whether it would be
more helpful to have the bio-statistician as a member or advisor:
consensus was reached that an agreed individual would be proposed to the
Minister for membership
(d) In relation to previous suggestions that it would
be useful to have a toxicologist as an advisor to or member of the Forum,
Dr Gavin will liaise with Professor O’Mullane in order to nominate
an individual - this will be discussed by the Forum at the next meeting.
Dr Crowley suggested that it might be useful to contact the Irish Society
of Toxicology - this was agreed - Dr Gavin undertook to do so. General
consensus that Professor Gary Whitford would be a suitably qualified and
experienced toxicologist - this will be discussed further at the meeting
on 11 January 2001.
Presentation by Professor O’Brien
Professor O’Brien gave a presentation on
Professor O’Brien undertook to give a copy of the
slides used to the Secretariat for circulation.
As per Kanis (1994), moderate dose of fluoride
increases bone strength but high dose decreases bone strength.
There is a need for information to be given to the
public in relation to osteoporosis as it has reached epidemic proportions
but is totally avoidable.
The Chairman thanked Professor O’Brien for an
excellent and very interesting presentation.
The rapporteur circulated the draft interim report
which she has been working on and comments from members were requested.
The Chairman is meeting the Minister on Wednesday 20 December 2000 in
order to present this report.
Seeking views from the public
Secretariat gave brief details on the advertisements
placed in the national newspapers and response to date (approximately 100
requests for the information leaflet). Radio advertisements will be placed
shortly. There was a discussion regarding the target audience for the
radio advertisements - there was general consensus that the advertisements
should be targeted at all adults - while this is significantly more
expensive as it involves advertising at peak times, it was agreed that it
is crucial that the maximum number of the public be engaged in the
consultative process - Secretariat will implement this.
Submission from Ms Fiona Barbagallo of DCU (brought by
the DHFI and DR in conjunction with their presentation) is relevant in
relation to eliciting the views of the public - as mentioned above the
ideas raised therein are to be discussed at a future meeting.
Secretariat asked for advice as to what information
should be put on the Forum’s web site. The following were agreed for
- names of members and name of nominating/representative organisation
- terms of reference
- documents circulated to Forum members
(Secretariat to check re copyright etc.)
- advertisement placed in the national newspapers
- interim report (with the consent of the Minister)
(suggestion from Chairman that another interim report be drafted and
put on web site in March to keep the public updated)
- general introduction regarding fluoridation i.e. "what is
fluoridation?", "why do we have it in our water?"
(Dr Flanagan will be asked to draft relevant section)
- text of presentations made to the Forum
- contact postal and e-mail address for the Forum (via Secretariat)
The web site is not a tool to educate but to elicit the
views of the public - it is important that as many responses as possible
be received in order to maximise engagement with the public.
Professor Fottrell stated that it is important that the
web site be updated regularly once it is up and running - clarification
needed as to who will perform this role.
Sub-group - ‘‘50 Reasons"
Professor O’Mullane is chairing this sub-group -
draft replies to be completed before 11 January 2001. Rapporteur to
circulate references as they become available.
Notes and Future Activities
(i) Ms Darina Allen will make a presentation to the
Forum on February 2001
(ii) Despite several contacts by the Secretariat, VOICE
has not yet conveyed their decision as regards whether they will make a
presentation to the Forum; - following a request from the Chairman for
suggestions as to how to elicit the views of VOICE, Dr Cullen offered to
contact that organisation’s Chairman to discuss the matter
(iii) Dr Cullen was asked by the Chairman if she would
be interested in making a presentation to the Forum on behalf of the Irish
Doctors’ Environmental Association - Dr Cullen suggested that another
member, Dr Philip Michael, might be interested in doing so instead - March
2001 meeting suggested for this - Secretariat to (a) liaise with Dr Cullen
in order to contact Dr Michael and (b) write to him in order to ask if
would be interested in making a presentation - if so, he is to be asked to
submit a synopsis of his presentation to the Secretariat before the
relevant meeting for circulation to the Forum
(iv) Dr Paul Beirne, Research Fellow, UCC, to make
presentation to Forum regarding his research on the issue of fluoridation
at meeting on 11 January 2001
(v) Agreement that Secretariat should contact Dr Don
MacAuley to determine his interest in making a presentation to the Forum
following his recent article in the Irish Medical Journal (Professor O’Mullane
supplied a copy of his recent response to that article - this will be
circulated to the Forum).
(vi) Professor Kelleher has forwarded some
documentation via the rapporteur.
(vii) Dr Cyrus Cooper will be invited to give a
presentation to the Forum (possibly March 2001 or April 2001 meeting
depending on his availability), concentrating on fluoride studies -
Secretariat will contact him - Professor O’Brien will give advice to
Secretariat regarding wording of the letter i.e. focus to be on clinical
(viii) Professor Hannu Hausen will be asked to make a
submission - possibility of inviting him to give a presentation to the
Forum to be discussed at the meeting on 11 January 2001 - it would be
useful to get his advice/comments on the possible effects/outcomes of
ceasing water fluoridation.
(ix) Dr Cullen had two questions which the Forum agreed
- from an oral health point of view, what is the
advantage of oral (fluoride) tablets in comparison with other methods of
- what is a person’s total exposure to fluoride? -
to focus on individuals with kidney problems and premature babies
The Forum agreed that it would be useful to have a
paediatrician and/or nephrologist as advisor to, or member of, the Forum
in order to address the second question here - members to suggest names of
suitably qualified and experienced individuals - Dr Gavin and Professor O’Mullane
agreed to follow this up.
(x) Dr Liz Treasure will be contacted by Secretariat to
invite her to give presentation regarding the methodology and findings of
the York Review - for April meeting 2001 - to be asked to give information
from "layman’s" point of view. Dr Connett made several
criticisms of the York Review - Dr Treasure to be asked to discuss this
(xii) important that if a bio-statistician and/ or any
other suggested individual is to be appointed to the Forum that this would
be done as quickly as possible so that they be would present for as many
of the presentations and Forum discussions as possible in order to
maximise their contribution
(xiii) oral presentations should cease before May 2001
when drafting of the main report should commence. Members who wish to
nominate/suggest someone for a presentation or give one themself should
notify the Chairman and Secretariat as soon as possible
(xiv) Professor Clarkson has arranged for the Boardroom
of Dublin Dental Hospital to be made available for Forum meetings from now
until April 2001, inclusive; the following meeting (May 2001) may be held
(xv) Professors Clarkson and O’Brien gave their
apologies for the meeting on 11 January 2001.
« Back to Minutes of Meetings Contents
Home Search •
About the Site • About
the Forum • Forum Members
Progress to Date • Latest
Developments • Contacting
the Forum & Expressing Your Views • Forum
Documents Some Practical
© The Forum on Water Fluoridation in Ireland 2001