29 APRIL 1955, Page 18

FLUORIDATION SIR,—The comment by Pharos on 'compul- sory' fluoridation in

your issue of March 18. 1955, is forthright but scarcely conclusive. He is against a 'medical experiment without [his] knowledge or consent.' An experiment? Over twenty million people in the United States alone are drinking water to which fluorides have been added in carefully measured amounts, some of them since 1945. Many others in all countries, including our own, have, since time immemorial, taken water to which Nature has added fluorides haphazardly, but sometimes in the right quantities. Many

Americans could argue, as I do, that there is nothing very experimental in following their lead. Compulsory? So far as I know, there is no power, either here or in America, to com- pel local authorities to add fluorides to public water supplies. They can only be advised in the light of present knowledge, and in this, as in other fields, presumably have some dis- cretion in taking a decision on behalf of their electorates. The very fact that they are now considering the problem in an atmosphere of controversy indicates that freedom exists and that there is nothing surreptitious about the matter. I cannot agree with Pharos that the pros and cons of fluoridation are immaterial; they are the essence of the case in favour of fluoridation, and of at least some of the con- troversy. Personally, 1 would like to have the benefits of fluoridation extended to my chil- dren, and am not at all sure that a minority which takes an opposite line should be en- tirely free to make them do without. The medical statisticians whom Pharos refuses to toast in water assure me, alas, that these bene- fits come too late for the good of my own teeth. In this respect I, too, am disinterested.—

Yours faithfully,


University of Aberdeen