Take fluoride out of our water

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 February, 2014, 4:03am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 February, 2014, 4:03am

I refer to the letter by David Wong, of the Water Supplies Department ("Fluoridation of drinking water protects teeth", February 8) in reply to the letter by G. Holloway, ("Orwellian practice must end in HK", January 27).

Fluoride is a toxic additive that harms brain functioning in adults and children. It can be lethal at only five grams. Like G. Holloway, I would like to know why Hong Kong's water supply, unlike many advanced countries, is still being treated with toxic fluoride.

Mr Wong took a defensive stance on fluoridation, citing outdated studies, while never showing concern for the other side.

He ambiguously never states what exactly is being added to our water (sodium fluoride or calcium fluoride), where it was sourced from, or how - as a by-product of aluminium manufacturing.

He says the Water Supplies and Health departments will keep monitoring fluoride content and "the latest scientific development". Well, those departments haven't been monitoring closely enough.

Numerous studies show harm from consuming fluoride. Many cities have chosen to abandon fluoridation and it is now Hong Kong's turn.

Researchers from Harvard University and China Medical University indicate that fluoride adversely affects cognitive development and IQ in children.

Fluoride, when combined with other heavy metals like lead, mercury and aluminium, is also being linked to Alzheimer's disease. Finally, overexposure to fluoride causes fluorosis, an enamel defect resulting in white or brown spots on teeth.

Hong Kong needs to stop adding chemicals to our water. If it's really about oral health, like Mr Wong says it is, let's encourage proper brushing and flossing instead, and let's also immediately eliminate soda and sugar-laden beverages from all schools.

Paramount to all of this, however, is the fact that ending Hong Kong's toxic water fluoridation will reduce the potential harm to our brains, and the young brains of future generations.

Dr William Hirzy, senior vice-president of the union representing scientists at the US Environmental Protection Agency, said, in 1999: "In summary, we hold that fluoridation is an unreasonable risk. That is, the toxicity of fluoride is so great and the purported benefits associated with it are so small - if there are any at all - that requiring every man, woman and child to ingest it borders on criminal behaviour on the part of governments." Is anyone else thirsty for change?

Nick Anderson, North Point