Fluoride Action Network

Fluoridation vs. Democracy

Fluoride Action Network | August 2012

Over 185 million Americans now drink fluoridated water, a figure that exceeds the number of people in the rest of the world combined that do so. The massive scale of the U.S. fluoridation program is the result, not of popular  demand, but of executive fiat. As Dr. James Dunning, of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, observed: “The big cities in the United States were mostly fluoridated by executive action in such a way as to avoid public referenda.”

While pro-fluoridation advocates saw this as evidence that people could not be trusted to make the right decision (and thus, that government needed to make the decision for them), others viewed it differently. In a 1973 Stanford PhD Dissertation, Dr. Edward Groth noted:

“The fact that nearly 3 out of every 5 communities which vote on the issue have rejected fluoridation, year after year, does in all likelihood represent a collective judgment on the part of the public that, when all things are considered, fluoridation is not an acceptable public health measure.”

The pattern that Groth observed in 1973 has remained largely the same ever since. In 1988, therefore, Chemical & Engineering News reported that: “In about 60% of 2000 referenda held in the U.S. since 1950, fluoridation has been voted down.”

And, later, in 2006, Chemical & Engineering News reported “in recent years, when towns and cities across the country have held voter referenda on fluoridation, its use has been rejected about half the time.”