She was born on January 7, 1918 in The Hague as the daughter of the Dutch socialist leader Koos Vorrink. She studied law until 1943 and held several legal functions, before she became a member of the Senate for the PvdA in 1969.
In 1973 she became Minister of Health in the cabinet Den Uyl. A major issue was the legislation concerning drugs, which she achieved in 1976 together with Minister of Justice, Dries van Agt. The Netherlands has since then employed a distinction between hard and soft drugs.
She also took the leading role in attempting to establish a legal basis for the fluoridation of drinking water. Though fluoridation to prevent tooth decay had been occurring in many areas across the Netherlands for years, the Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that it should be specifically provided for in the Water Supply law. Her bill to do so did not find support in the House of Representatives outside her own party, and was dropped.
- "Mr. I. (Irene) Vorrink" (in Dutch). Parlement.com. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
- HA Edeler (23 September 2009). De drinkwaterfluoridering : tandartsen, staat en volksgezondheid in Nederland, 1946-1976 (Thesis) (in Dutch). pp. 301–302, 304–306.
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