Saturday, January 31, 2015

"The Mind Unleashed" and Fluoridation of Water

I've been getting a few comments on my post about why you should not repost articles from The Mind Unleashed. One of the things I noted was that "The site publishes many articles arguing that fluoride is an evil substance that should not be added to our drinking water." The comments I've received inveigh against the supposed dangers of fluoride in the drinking water, which was added in order to combat dental cavities. The latest post quoted an article from a website called "Culture Change" which claims that the Nazis used fluoride in concentration camps "to keep the inmates passive." This was because, "The poison serves to decrease resistance to authority." How fluoride accomplishes this is not described (or supported by any evidence) in the article.

I know that there have been campaigns in the US against fluoridation of water since at least the 1960s - as I recall this was something that upset the John Birch Society because they thought it was a communist conspiracy. These campaigns apparently still exist, as evidenced by my correspondents.

The American Dental Association has a statement on its website supporting fluoridation because it reduces cavities (Fluoride and Fluoridation):
On January 25,1945 Grand Rapids, Michigan became the world's first city to adjust the level of fluoride in its water supply. Since that time, fluoridation has dramatically improved the oral health of tens of millions of Americans. Community water fluoridation is the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has proclaimed community water fluoridation as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. Approximately 74.6% of the U.S. population served by public water systems receive the benefit of optimally fluoridated water. 
Fluoridation of community water supplies is simply the adjustment of the existing, naturally occurring fluoride levels in drinking water to an optimal fluoride level for the prevention of tooth decay. Water that has been fortified with fluoride is similar to fortifying milk with Vitamin D, table salt with iodine, and bread and cereals with folic acid. 
For nearly 70 years, studies have consistently shown that fluoridation of community water supplies is safe and effective in preventing dental decay in both children and adults. Simply by drinking water, children and adults can benefit from fluoridation's cavity protection whether they are at home, work or school. 
Today, studies prove water fluoridation continues to be effective in reducing tooth decay by at least 25%, even in an era with widespread availability of fluoride from other sources, such as fluoride toothpaste. 
Fluoridation is one public health program that actually saves money. An individual can have a lifetime of fluoridated water for less than the cost of one dental filling. 
The American Dental Association continues to endorse fluoridation of community water supplies as safe and effective for preventing tooth decay. This support has been the Association's position since policy was first adopted in 1950. The ADA's policies regarding community water fluoridation are based on the best available science. The ADA, along with state and local dental societies, continues to work with federal, state and local agencies to increase the number of communities benefiting from water fluoridation.
A science blogger, Skeptical Raptor, has recently blogged on the claims against fluoridation of water in Fluoridation, the 47 millionth blog post issue.

Orac, at Respectful Insolence, also blogged on the 2013 referendum in Portland, Oregon, which resulted in a decision not to fluoridate water there. He has a good discussion of the scientific issues.


  1. Rebecca, Is it me or does the stupidity come in waves? It looks like 7% of Tiburon's parents are child abusers because they refuse to vaccinate their children. The fluoridation nonsense I now find is still going strong. (beats head on desk -- I am a retired medical research librarian.) I remember polio because I am 64 and there were survivors in my school with braces. No one remembers and now they are willing to take chances with their children's lives. By the way, I really enjoy your blog.

  2. Julia, I deleted your second comment because it was a doublet of the first comment. I was reading another article today on anti-vaxxers, in the New York Times, and one paragraph was really chilling: "In San Geronimo, Calif., a mostly rural community of rolling hills and oak trees about 30 miles north of San Francisco, 40 percent of the students walking into Lagunitas Elementary School have not been inoculated against measles, according to the school’s figures. Twenty-five percent have not been vaccinated for polio. In all, the state says that 58 percent of Lagunitas kindergartners do not have up-to-date vaccine records." (The link is:

    25% have not been vaccinated against polio! What an unbelievable figure. I'm younger than you are, but I still remember the stories about children who had to live in iron lungs in order to survive polio. I remember a photo in Life magazine, I think, of a room full of children in iron lungs - it was very scary to me. And to imagine that people today are willing to risk their children's lives by not getting vaccinated against it.

    Thank you for your kind words about the blog - I'm glad you enjoy it.