Yeah we’d all hate to live in one of those countries right?
The thing is that lately I can’t help thinking that perhaps we’re living with the wool over our eyes here in this little Republic on the Prairie, where democracy has brought us the illusion of grandeur and a tax system to match one of those despotic governments you scorn at on the television.
For example the average worker in Ireland pays 20% of their earnings in income tax, and approx 4% in USC, meaning a quarter of all his/her earnings goes straight to the government to begin with. Next off he/she might go to the supermarket to do their weekly shop, everything they buy has VAT charged to it also, at the rate of 23%. So if they spend the rest of their wages in the supermarket nearly half of their earnings go directly to the government.
If you’re lucky enough to save anything the government look to get their cut there too, taking 33% of any interest earned in what’s called Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT). Of course most of us don’t get to save that much anyway, every aspect of life in Ireland has a tax now; I pay motor tax to keep my car, septic tank charges to use my loo, a dog license for my best friend, a tv license to listen to the radio, Local Property Tax to live local - or remotely - or where ever it is that I’m living, as long as I’m living there I’m paying for it.
So it was no surprise to me when the government announced they were going to be charging us for water in a country where it doesn’t stop raining. I wondered why though, why another tax, why another tax when we pay so much tax already.
‘It’s so we can have better quality water’ they said, ‘to maintain the upkeep of water treatment facilities’.
To this extent I thought sure, sure that’s reasonable if it helps improve the quality of water supply, if it helps get clean water to our hospitals, to ensure our elderly get good clean water, that our children have access to good clean fresh drinking water. That’s reasonable right?
Because I have no problem paying for the treatment of water, especially if it’s good for us, but what if it’s not? What if the government are actually poisoning our drinking water with fluoride?
See if you’re like me you might have thought fluoridation is part of the water treatment process, that it’s required to clean the water, but you’d be wrong, it’s completely separate. After the water is treated someone comes along and adds the fluoride so that we can have better teeth, because apparently we eat too many sweets and don’t brush our teeth! Hello Mammy Ireland, thanks for the fluoride and the cancer that comes with it.
I hear what you’re thinking, surely fluoride doesn’t give us cancer, surely the government aren’t actually giving us cancer?
Well scientific research says otherwise. In 2001 researchers at the University of Tokyo published findings in the Journal of Epidemiology which reported a significant association between water fluoridation and cancer. Researchers undertook detailed statistical analysis of cancer incidence rates and water fluoridation in the USA, comparing fluoridated and non-fluoridated states. Of the 36 cancer sites in males and females examined, 69% were significantly associated with water fluoridation. The reason given by the authors for the higher cancer incidence rates in fluoridated communities was the extended presence of fluoride in plasma and urine and the infusion of fluoride into the brain and other organs.
But hey, what do they know in Tokyo right, are we going to get scared by one little report coming out of Asia telling us about the water we drink?
Well they’re not alone in their research. In 2006 the US National Academy of Sciences completed a comprehensive & balanced scientific review on the health effects of fluoride in water. Its 500-page report, representing three years' work by a panel of 12 scientists, acknowledged adverse effects from even low levels of fluoride ingestion, effects including thyroid impairment, type 2 diabetes, moderate dental fluorosis, bone fractures & arthritis, as well as lowering of IQ and brain damage.
Still dismissive, thinking why governments would do this if it is so bad, well it turns out that they don’t. Governments don’t do this; it’s pretty much just us, as it happens Ireland is the only EU country and one of only two in the world with a national mandatory public water fluoridation policy.
In fact fluoride is considered so dangerous in the USA that all fluoride toothpastes carry a poison warning, by federal law. It states, "If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, you should contact a poison control centre immediately."
A POISON CONTROL CENTRE, if you were hit by a bus in this country you’d be lucky to see a doctor after you've spent the night on a trolley, not to mind gaining access to a poison control centre, and imagine the reaction you’d get when you finally get to see a doctor and you tell them you’re concerned that you’ve drank too much water today, which is exactly what you should do because the amount of fluoride which requires a poison warning in the US is the same amount of fluoride found in one glass of tap water in Ireland, a glass which carries no warning.
All of this would make you wonder, perhaps we’re one of those horrid little countries you see on the TV, where the government decides how they treat their people, where the government dictates what’s ‘good’ for the public. Have we really turned into a country where we have no control over our own health? Is there any power in this democracy of ours? Do we have any say about how we’re taxed or about what’s in our water? Are we really going to sit back and swallow this?