In Curacao, Aqualectra will stop adding fluoride to drinking water
|WILLEMSTAD — Aqualectra will eventually stop adding fluoride to drinking-water, according to a press report from the government. Starting today, the utility company will decrease the maximum concentration of fluoride in the tap water from 1.5 ppm (part per million) to 0.5 ppm. According to dentist Eric de Brabander, this is not a wise decision. Moreover, according to a research conducted under his direction, it appears that the concentration of fluoride in the drinking-water was 0.5 ppm. The concentration of fluoride in tap water is eventually to be zero in 2014. Research shows that adding fluoride is not necessary.The Council of Ministers made this decision yesterday on the International Day of the Water and based this decision on recommendations from experts. Since 1962, Aqualectra has been adding fluoride to the drinking-water to suppress dental caries. Many countries – including neighboring country Aruba – stopped adding fluoride to drinking-water some time ago. According to the government there’s no need to add fluoride to the drinking-water because various products such as toothpaste and mouthwash already contain fluoride. Too much fluoride can be harmful to the body.
According to dentist Eric de Brabander, the decision to eventually stop adding fluoride to drinking-water is not wise. He states the tap water actually contains too little fluoride. “The drinking-water on Curaçao is distilled from seawater, which hardly contains any fluoride. Most areas in the world where drinking-water comes from sources such as rivers, lakes or dunes, already contains fluoride, which is a good thing,” he said.
“Since the fifties we’ve come to know that fluoride plays an important role for the growth of teeth and bones, and that it protects dental caries. For that reason, fluoride was added to the drinking-water on Curaçao in 1962.” According to De Brabander, the effect of adding fluoride was researched several times. The last time had been last year. Under direction of De Brabander and epidemiologist Izzy Gerstenbluth, two students from Groningen measured the concentration of fluoride in the drinking-water. “On average 0.5 ppm was measured while 0.7 is necessary for a maximum effect”, says De Brabander. “Research shows the mouth hygiene of the local population leaves much to be desired. Aqualectra was therefore advised to adjust the fluoride concentration to the internationally accepted and scientifically substantiated standard.”
The National Order ‘Quality Drinking-water’ departs from a maximum concentration of 1.5 ppm, which is based on the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO). This is not a fixed concentration. Aqualectra is allowed to add less fluoride. From research it appears that without disadvantageous consequences for the health, drinking-water can contain a fluoride concentration up to 1.2 ppm, which is twice the concentration found in the drinking-water on Curaçao.
According to De Brabander, without consulting the GGD and the Curaçao Dental Society, the government decided to change the cocktail of supplements to the drinking-water. He thinks the government follows the advice of Rudolf de Wit, who is a fervent opponent of chemicals in drinking-water or in food. According to him, the many cases of breast cancer on our island are caused by the fluoride in our drinking-water. De Brabander says this is a fairy tale. The WHO also states there is no connection between the concentration of fluoride in the drinking-water and the number of cases of breast cancer in a population. According to De Brabander, the decision to stop adding fluoride to the drinking-water will have disadvantageous consequences for the public heath, without mentioning the costs of dental care in the near future.