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Healdsburg is a small city of about 11,000 people in the wine-growing region of Sonoma County, California. It has its own municipal water department, which, like those of many localities in the U.S., has added fluoride salts to the public water supply in the interest of dental health for about 60 years.

In November 2014, a proposal to end fluoridation was placed on the ballot by the initiative process. This measure was defeated by a decisive margin of 2 to 1.

While there is a strong and long-established consensus in favor of fluoridation in the U.S., the opponents were so vocal and made such strong claims during the run-up to the election that I decided to spend some time and effort evaluating the factual basis for those claims. I did not have an a priori position on the issue, although as is usual in scientific inquiry, I believed that those seeking to overturn an established consensus should expect to have to meet a high burden of proof. I also (contrary to the assertions of one vocal opponent -- see below) had no personal stake in any particular result. I do, however, have two strong personal reasons for wanting to determine the factual truth:

The dialogue process

Allegations and facts


This page last updated January 4, 2015.