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Fluoridation safe, effective

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Voters in Salt Lake County will have the opportunity to decide this fall whether their water supply is to be supplemented with fluoride. Because there have been (and will be) a number of misinformed statements about fluoridation of water during this campaign season, I have searched the database of the National Library of Medicine for articles concerning water fluoridation.

In the United States, the earliest observation about water fluoridation and the prevention of dental caries concerned naturally fluoridated water and was published in 1946. Subsequent studies of supplementing community water supplies with fluoride were published in the 1950s and conclusively demonstrated a 50 percent reduction in dental caries when small amounts of fluoride (0.7 to 1.2 parts per million) were maintained in public water systems for a few years.

People concerned about the safety of water fluoridation will be reassured to know that studies of the rates of cancer have not found a difference between populations with and without adequate water fluoridation in the United States, Great Britain, Holland or other countries.

Water fluoridation is safe and effective and has the support of the major health professions associations in the United States, including the American Dental Association and the American Public Health Association. I took forward to the near future when my 4-year-old daughter will be drinking fluoridated water.

Joseph Q. Jarvis, M.D.

Salt Lake City