January 25, 1945
The Grand Rapids City Commission approved a plan to add fluoride to drinking water supplies to prevent tooth decay.
Michigan was in the forefront of the national controversy over whether to add fluoride to drinking water supplies to prevent tooth decay. In 1944, government agencies selected Grand Rapids and Newburgh, N.Y., as test cities, after dentists had noticed that children in areas with large amounts of naturally occurring fluoride in the water had far fewer cavities. The tests were held, despite warnings that fluoride might actually be harmful to health and that fluoridation was part of a communist plot to undermine America’s well-being. Ten years later, Dr. Henry L. Coburn, president of the Kent County Dental Society, wrote to Governor G. Mennen Williams, “Our experience with fluoridation has been an unqualified success.”
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