TL;DR – The claims are so outrageous that no one will believe them… right?
There was a “protest” against the water price hike at Hong Lim Park on 11th March. We get it. Water prices going up means heavier financial burden. It’s understandable if some people are buay song. It’s understandable that some people want to have an avenue to air their unhappiness. So it’s understandable why some people would turn up at that “protest”.
But, our water is dangerous?
But for the life of us, we can’t understand why that “protest” featured one particular speaker. Ms Irene Mortensen spoke at the “protest”, but she didn’t speak about the water price hike. Instead, in her 7-8 minute speech, she spoke about how dangerous the water in Singapore is. Yes, that’s right. According to Ms Mortensen, Singaporeans are getting poisoned from drinking water from the tap.
Ms Mortensen claimed that Singaporeans are being poisoned by the fluoride in Singapore’s water supply. She asserted that the fluoride in Singapore’s water supply causes brain damage. She even went as far as to suggest that fluoride in Singapore’s water supply caused suicides of children in Singapore.
Here’s a condensed version of her speech,
It’s true that Singapore’s water supply contains fluoride. Singapore started putting fluoride into our water supply since 1954. We did it because we wanted to reduce tooth decay.
The fluoridation level in Singapore’s water supply is currently at 0.6mg per litre of water. That is well within the level of 1.5mg per litre prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Fluoridation at low levels have minimal risks
When fluoridation is lower than the WHO prescribed levels, the risks are minimal. In fact, there is no evidence in any scientific literature that suggests that fluorine causes brain damage like what Ms Mortensen claimed. When there are any side effects, the symptoms are limited to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
But that only happens in rare cases where improper implementation of water fluoridation resulted in overfluoridation. Three such cases were reported in the U.S. between 1991 and 1998, caused by fluoride concentrations as high as 220 mg/L; in the 1992 Alaska outbreak, 262 people became ill and one person died. Those levels are way higher than the fluoridation levels in Singapore’s water supply.
And in case we are worried that fluoridation harms the environment, it doesn’t. The effect of water fluoridation on the natural environment has been investigated, and no adverse effects have been established. Issues studied have included fluoride concentrations in groundwater and downstream rivers; lawns, gardens, and plants; consumption of plants grown in fluoridated water; air emissions; and equipment noise.
Don’t be taken in by those outrageous claims
So Ms Mortensen’s claims are completely baseless. Thankfully, her claims are so outrageous that (hopefully) only few, if any, people would believe her. Right?
By the way, if you’re curious to find out a little more about Ms Irene Mortensen, we came across a very interesting link with an eyebrow-raising clip in there somewhere.