Tynwald’s social affairs scrutiny committee has, in consideration of the poor condition of children’s teeth, recommended that twice-yearly fluoridation varnish applications are offered to children to prevent tooth decay.

My memory goes back to a public debate at the Post-Graduate Medical Centre in January 1986 when it was proposed that Manx drinking water was fluoridated.

During the course of the debate the meeting learned that the fluoride being proposed for the drinking water was in fact industrial waste (hexafluorosilicic acid) which was banned in most countries because of seriously adverse effects on health.

The findings come from some of the foremost institutions in the world after experiments on animals confirmed genetic damage.

The motion was hopelessly lost.

Then in September 2003 the Manx government announced that drinking water on the island was to be fluoridated. There then ensued a battle of some five years duration, during which the government attended three debates.

At Loch Promenade Church the motion was defeated, five for, 139 against.

At Port St Mary town hall – no votes in favour.

Ramsey town hall – no votes in favour.

At Ramsey town hall, the man spearheading the campaign for the government, Dr Paul Emerson, was asked: ‘Is the fluoride which you are proposing for our drinking water in fact arsenic, lead, cadmium, chromium, mercury, nickel, selenium, polonium, uranium, antimony and radium?’

‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘but in carefully controlled doses.’

The hall gasped.

Then there followed a last-ditch attempt by means of a glossy brochure to every household at taxpayers’ expense promoting the lie that fluoride was safe.

On Thursday, June 12, 2008, the Department of Health and Social Services announced, via a media release, that they had officially abandoned all plans to fluoridate the water, citing independent market research showing that the majority of respondents were opposed to fluoridation.

The capacity of the Manx government to expose itself to humiliation, ridicule and consistent defeat whenever it promotes this poison is bewildering but it goes with the proposal to apply a concentrated version of this poison to children’s teeth.

In the USA, fluoridated toothpaste is packaged with the mandatory warning: ‘Keep out of reach of children under six years of age.

‘If more than is used for brushing teeth is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.’ US Food and Drug Administration.

In Scotland some 40 years ago, in the landmark case of McColl v Strathclyde Regional Council in the Court of Session, Edinburgh, Lord Jauncey held that the adding of fluoride to the public water supply would breach the council’s duty to supply wholesome water, was poisonous and therefore illegal.

It was banned, a ban which remains in place throughout Scotland to this day.

The Manx government needs to learn some hard lessons from this because fluoride varnish applications are likely to be declared illegal on public health grounds.

The Manx government would have to grant an indemnity to every parent for the child treated.

It would also open the door for significant damages claims against the Manx government by parents and/or their children, which would ultimately be funded by us – the Manx taxpayer.

Grant LC McPherson

St John’s

Share your views with our readers.

Write to: Opinions, Isle of Man Examiner and Manx Independent, 18 Finch Road, Douglas, IM1 2PT or email:

Don’t forget to include your name, FULL home address and a daytime phone number even if you want to be anonymous in print.

Obviously, we need to be able to verify the identity of everyone whose letter we publish.

We don’t print phone numbers or full addresses and respect anonymity if the author requests it.

This letter was first published in the Manx Independent of March 9.