THE CASE FOR FLUORIDATION-
Muskegon did not begin fluoridating its drinking water supply until
1951, so that for each of the years
covered by these comparisons, 1943
through 1950, Muskegon's drinking
water was not fluoridated.4-'' It is significant that the people of Muskegon
became so impressed with the reduction of dental caries in the children
of Grand Rapids that they ceased to
provide a base-line for comparison by
initiating the fluoridation of Muskegon
Absolutely no indications or suggestions of undesirable non-dental physiological effects can be attributed to the
fluoridation of Grand Rapids drinking
water during the years since 1944. The
striking dental benefits have not been
offset by any undesirable consequences.47
No Danger in Causation of Cancer
The president of the American Cancer Society, Dr. Charles S. Cameron,
has stilted: "The American Cancer
Society does not consider fluorine or
the common fluorine salts to be carcinogenic. Its position, therefore, with
respect to water fluoridation for the
purpose of dental caries prophylaxis,
is that such treatment of public water
supplies is without clanger as far as
cancer causation is concerned."48
Analysis of the crude death rates
from cancer and cardiovascular-renal
disease in Newburgh and Kingston
from 1942 through 1954 shows no
consistent pattern from year to year,
but it is clear that there has not been
any increase in deaths from these
causes in Newburgh, as compared
with Kingston, during the period of
The question has sometimes been
raised regarding what would happen
if a mechanical breakdown caused one
day's supply of sodium fluoride or
sodium silico-fluoride to be suddenly
dumped into the water at a fluoridation plant. If this large weight of
fluoride could be dissolved, mixed,
and distributed within an hour, a factor of safety would still exist sufficient
to predict that the water could be
drunk for ten years or more without
serious toxic consequences. For the
city of Rochester, New York, for instance, to add enough fluoride to the
water supply so that a quart would
contain a deadly amount, 400 tons of
fluoride would have to be dissolved in
the volume of water distributed each
day. Since the machine used in Rochester has a hopper that contains only
half a ton, it is clearly impossible to
produce acute fluoride poisoning by
When all the evidence is put together, it may be concluded that in
water fluoridation adequate factors of
safety exist against the known toxic-
effects of fluoride. Additional studies
are needed of population groups that
have been for many years drinking
fluoridated water. However, present
evidence does not justify postponement of water fluoridation.4"
Upheld as Constitutional
The power of a municipality acting
through its elected representatives, to
initiate fluoridation of its water supply by legislative action has been upheld wherever challenged in court.
Such a procedure is held to be proper
exercise of police power of a community to conserve or improve the health
of its residents/'"
This principle is well stated by Robert E. Cushman in Civil Liberties in
the United States, a booklet distributed this year by the Fund for the
Republic. Mr. Cushman says: "Lawful health requirements must prevail
over religious objection. There is no
new principle here. . . . Part of the
opposition to the current drive to
bring about the fluoridation of public
water supplies comes from Christian
Scientists, who object on the ground
that this is medication. Their objections will doubtless not prevail, though
it is probable that a Christian Scientist
could not be compelled to drink fluoridated water against his vvill."
Those who contend that fluoridation of public water supplies is a violation of constitutional rights, will find
refutation in Mr. Cushman's words:
"The religious liberty which is pro-
tected by the Constitution is essentially freedom of religious thought and
expression; it does not include con-
duet which violates the criminal law,
offends public morals, or interferes
with the legitimate exercise of the
police power for the protection of
public safety and health."51
* * * *
There in quick review are the cases
for and against the fluoridation of
public water supplies. "To fluoridate
or not to fluoridate?" Your opinion is
needed on this question which vitally
concerns the health ancl well-being of
millions of American citizens. END
st. Louis Vlfilii-al Society, op. oil.
,7knutSOn, op. Cit.
'"Black, on. cit.
"-NewlHircli-kin-.Tstnii final report, op. dt.
-St. Louis Medical Society, op. eil.
"Cushman, Robert E., Civil Liberties in HO
United Stales. Cornell University Press, 1958. Vr*
bributed by The Fund For 'Ihe Republic.
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