Health: Not in My Water Supply

It hardens teeth and prevents cavities, but 60 years after it began, fluoridation is meeting new resistance

Somebody put a dead rat in Curtis Smith's mailbox. Someone else has made anonymous phone calls accusing him of trying to poison his neighbors. And all around the usually placid university town of Bellingham, Wash., activists from a group called Citizens Against Forced Fluoride have planted lawn signs adorned with skull and crossbones. "I had no idea it would get this intense," says Smith, 70, a retired dentist who is leading a Nov. 8 ballot initiative to add fluoride to the local drinking water. "These are very angry people."

Angry indeed: fluoridation to fight tooth decay, a hot-button issue from the 1950s--when...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!