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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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The History of Community Water Fluoridation in the United States

            As early as the 1930s researchers began to notice that fluoride reduces dental caries (a.k.a. cavities). ( The topical benefits of fluoride, such as those derived from fluoride toothpaste, are largely undisputed. The controversy begins when in 1945 when Grand Rapids, Michigan began adding fluoride to its municipal water. A study conducted by The National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council that compared Grand Rapids to a control group found a decline in tooth decay among the Grand Rapids population, and declared water fluoridation “Safe, effective, and beneficial.” ( In 1951 the U.S. Surgeon General Leonard Andrew Scheele endorsed community water fluoridation, which spurred the widespread adoption of this practice.

            Water fluoridation is strongly supported by many dentists, and the American Dental Association. These supporters claim that fluoridation levels of approximately 1 ppm is an important health measure. Special emphasis is placed on the fact that municipal water fluoridation provides equal access to fluoride for all children, including those who would otherwise lack access to good dental care. It is also described as “the best bang for the nation's public health buck” ( in terms of cost-benefit. Children become a focus of the fluoridation movement because they stand both to benefit the most or be harmed the most by fluoridation, depending on who you ask.

While passions flare on either side of the water fluoridation controversy, it is important to note that each side wants the same thing – whatever is best for the children. Fluoridation advocates claim that community water fluoridation will cause children to have healthy, cavity free teeth through a method that is accessible and utilized merely by drinking water or cooking with that water. Anti-fluoridation forces worry that fluoride, when consumed, is more poisonous than practical.

Fertilizer Factory

Flouride chemicles used in water fluoridation are sometimes byproducts
of fertilizer production, created at factories like this one.

Last updated:  5/2/2010


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