Fluoridation of drinking water supplies: tapping into the debate

This article originally appeared on the OUPblog on 6 March 2014: http://blog.oup.com/2014/03/fluoridation-drinking-water-supplies/

Karen Blakey and Richard J.Q. McNally

Since their introduction in the United States in the 1940s, artificial fluoridation programmes have been credited with reducing tooth decay, particularly in deprived areas. They are acknowledged by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century (alongside vaccination and the recognition of tobacco use as a health hazard). Such plaudits however, have only gone on to fuel what is an extremely polarised ‘water fight’. Those opposed to artificial fluoridation continue to claim it causes a range of health conditions and diseases such as reduced IQ in children, reduced thyroid function, and increased risk of bone cancer. Regardless of the controversy, the one thing that everyone agrees upon is that little or no high quality research is available to confirm or refute any public concerns. Continue reading “Fluoridation of drinking water supplies: tapping into the debate”