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.