After its original founding, fluoride had not taken hold in the country, but when World War II began, two million young people received physicals for induction, and it found that 200,000 of them were rejected for bad teeth alone! This started a wave of fluoride use in the water supplies throughout the country. Today, the encyclopedias, internet, and other reliable sources note that 90% of all large towns and cities have fluoride in the water, and no deleterious effect has been noted and many beneficial results have been found.
Taken in small quantities, fluoride strengthened teeth and many communities around the country had put very small quantities of it in their water supply with excellent results for the children’s teeth. DeWitt, Iowa, naturally in its water, had almost exactly the amount necessary. 1.2 ions per million was the prescribed amount which would cut dental cavities by 40 to 70 percent. Clinton had a natural amount , which was not enough and hundreds of children had profuse dental cavities, visually noticeable to people in the community.
Clinton was one of four large towns in Iowa not to have fluoride in the water and a strong debate had been going on since at least 1952. The local PTA and dentists had been pushing for its use and a large and energetic group challenged its inception in 1965.
The debate raged on with many arguments on both sides. The opponents alluded to poisonous effects of the chemical and the fact that anybody who wanted it could add it to their own water supply. Some people on the fringe call it “a plot to make our citizens docile” to which there was an audible, PLEASE! uttered from councilman Starr. It was also said that it was Socialism or Communistic to put this substance in the water.
Unlike the 1952 debate, the council moved swiftly and had a private meeting on March 6, 1965 to plan the move to fluoride. The meeting was open to the public and press, but they asked that the issue be “off the record” until the council could bring it up for debate. The news media called this “subterfuge” and printed an article anyway. Letters poured in and the City Hall auditorium was packed for the first reading on March 11. This would not have been the case today with the Home Rule Charter, and the Open Meeting Law, because a petition would have been circulated and a city wide vote would have occurred. Would the issue have passed?