February 6th, 2013
A worker for the Grand Rapids Water Department stepped up to an open hopper in January of 1945 and began pouring sodium fluoride into the city's drinking water. It was not an act of sabotage, but the result of several years of research and planning.
Jerry Gunther, a worker for the Grand Rapids Water Department stepped up to an open hopper in January of 1945 and began pouring sodium fluoride into the city’s drinking water. Gunther’s act was not sabotage, but rather the result of several years of research and planning.
The Dean of the U.S. Public Health Service had long believed that adding fluoride to public water supplies was not harmful and would dramatically reduce the incidence of cavities in children. There were supporters at the University of Michigan Dental School, the Michigan Department of Public Health, the county health office, and president of the Kent County Dental Society, Dr. Russell Klinesteker.
With such support city commissioners were easily persuaded to participate in the experiment, which included two West Michigan cities that obtained their water from Lake Michigan. Fluoride would be added to water in Grand Rapids, but not in Muskegon, the control group. The fifteen-year experiment would study the effectiveness of fluoride on dental decay in Grand Rapids children compared to the control group in Muskegon.
The results of the experiment were so convincing that after only eight years of annual examinations Muskegon leaders felt they could no longer deprive their children the benefits of fluoride. They voted to withdraw as the control group for the fifteen-year experiment, and immediately added fluoride to their own water supply.
Grand Rapids children proved conclusively that fluoride works.
|Keywords||WYCE; radio; Grand Rapids; Historical Commission; history; health; fluoride|
|Pubdate String||February 6th, 2013|