“Many people, particularly scientists, believe that we are suffering in the U.S. from a national epidemic of irrationality—what Senator J.W. Fulbright of Arkansas has called the ‘swinish blight of anti-intellectualism.’ Fluoridation of public water supplies has been recommended by an impressive list of scientific organizations. However, from the beginning there has been opposition. The anti-fluoridation argument has three main themes: 1. fluoridation is an experiment which has not proved its value and may hold unknown dangers; 2. fluorides are poisons; 3. treatment by public agencies of the water that everyone must drink is a step in the direction of socialized medicine and an invasion of individual rights.”
—Scientific American, February 1955
More gems from Scientific American’s first 175 years can be found on our anniversary archive page.