• Key Words: antifluoridationists;
  • community;
  • fluoridation;
  • fluorides;
  • “fluorophobia,” litigation;
  • media;
  • opposition;
  • political;
  • sociology


Since Grand Rapids became the first community to adjust the fluoride content of its water supply, individuals and groups have objected to water fluoridation. Early opponents of fluoridation were often members of fringe groups or were associated with the health food movement, were chiropractors, or were Christian Scientists. Once these individuals and groups began exchanging ideas and experiences, national groups were formed for the sole purpose of fighting fluoridation. While most of these organizations lacked sufficient funding or expertise to have much impact outside of the communities where they were based, some national multi-issue organizations appeared that were well funded and that focused on antifluoridation as one of their goals. Through exploitation of society's current phobias about health and disease, these national groups have become increasingly successful in negatively influencing the public about the effectiveness, safety, and economy of community water fluoridation. Their tactics range from community actions aimed at local governmental bodies, to well-organized local referenda, to litigation in state and federal courts, to lobbying state legislatures, and the US Congress. Specific legal, community organizational, and political tactics employed by the antifluoride groups are reviewed and classified.