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Environmental Studies
Fluoride Frenzy

Fluoridation Frenzy

History of Fluoridation
How Fluoride Works


What is going on now?

The Arguments Against
The Internet Effect
References & Links

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What is going on now?

            Roughly 70% of Americans currently receive fluoridated municipal water. From around 1950 to roughly 2000 the pro-fluoridation movement dominated the direction of water treatment policy with the backing of organizations like the CDC and ADA. However, in the past 10 years dozens of anti-fluoridation groups across the country have fought to end or block fluoridation. In the last two years alone community water fluoridation has been rejected in 10 different states ( This anti-fluoridation renaissance can be attributed to two trends in that began in the 1990s: a growth in scientific literature that raises concerns about fluoridation, and the spread of the internet into American homes.

Fluoridation Battlegrounds

While anti-fluoridation movements have coalesced under the FAN umbrella, the bulk of action is taking place on the community level. That being said, there are some national petitions and campaigns being organized by both FAN and the EPA Headquarters Union. This includes Professionals Statement to End Fluoridation which states:

“It is time for the US, and the few remaining fluoridating countries, to recognize that fluoridation is outdated, has serious risks that far outweigh any minor benefits, violates sound medical ethics and denies freedom of choice. Fluoridation must be ended now.”

            This statement has garnered over 2,700 signatures from scientists, lawyers, and medical professionals including a Nobel Laureate, presidents and past presidents of a number of oral health organizations, several of the authors of the 2006 NAS report, five Goldman prize winners, and Pete Seeger.

            Locally, the movement takes the form of grassroots organizations such as Fluoride Leave Our Water (FLOW) in Portland, Maine, Citizens Against Forced Fluoride in Bellingham, Washington, and Fluoride Free New York in New York state.

            Tactics differ depending on the group and the situation. In Bellingham in 2005 citizens organized a grassroots movement to reject a ballot measure that would have resulted in community water fluoridation. Tactics included conventional grass roots door knocking, protesting, and posting signs. Some citizens went further, anonymously putting a dead rat in the mailbox of Curtis Smith (a retired dentist who led the ballot initiative) and making anonymous phone calls to his home accusing him of trying to poison his neighbors (,9171,1118379,00.html). Ultimately, anti-fluoridation activists won the vote 53-47%, despite a fundraising difference of $17,000 to over $250,000 (predominantly from sources outside of Bellingham, presumably industry) (

               In Portland, Maine FLOW has had less success. In 2009 they failed to get their desired ballot initiative on Maine’s ballot, and also were unable to elect their leader, Oliver Outerbridge, to a seat on the local Water District Board. However, Outerbridge feels that the national tide is moving in his favor, and anticipates more success in the future (

This ABC report covers the Professionals Statement to End Fluoridation, organized by the FAN.

Last updated:  5/2/2010


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