Baltimore Water Fluoridation Today Continues Mistake of the Past

Baltimore did have a role in the institutionalization of communal water fluoridation. Dr. Abel Wolman of Johns Hopkins University strongly opposed the addition of fluoride. But his mind was changed by arm-twisting from water industry interests. Wolman was clearly on the right track in opposing fluoridation until industry stepped in. Continued support for addition of fluoride to water is simply based on circular reasoning. 

Daws S. Baltimore and the Beginnings of the Fluoride Controversy. Journal of the history of dentistry. 2015 Summer-Fall;63(2):54-63.

The fluoridation of municipal water as a preventive dental health measure has proven to be a contentious issue from its very outset. In 1952, Baltimore became the first major city in the United States to artificially add fluoride to its water supply. This study draws largely on print media sources as a means of discerning public sentiment, in order to evaluate the nature of Baltimore’s fluoride controversy in its infancy. Initial response was influenced by prior exposure to the substance within the context of dentistry, as well as a continued trend of conservatism within the community. Logistical issues during implementation due to the necessary upscale of established practices to accommodate Baltimore’s population served to further exacerbate concerns. Much of the opposition was predicated on the breadth of the measure, as evidenced by the myriad of personal concerns put forth in objection. Personal concerns developed into demands for personal autonomy, providing a philosophical foundation for the anti-fluoridation movement that persists today.

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