Water Fluoridation Has Been a Controversial Topic For Decades
Although most U.S. cities have been artificially adding fluoride to drinking water since the 1940s and 50s, the policy is not without controversy. The practice of water fluoridation is not common worldwide, with only 24 countries instituting the practice to some degree. In total, less than 6 percent of the world’s population drinks artificially fluoridated water. In addition, a handful of global regions have naturally high levels of fluoride in their water, including Senegal, northern China, Sri Lanka, the East African Rift Valley, and parts of the western U.S. Some critics of water fluoridation argue that citizens aren’t allowed to opt-out or control the amount of fluoride they are exposed to when it’s being added to the water system. Criticism increased following several studies in the 1990s that found several potential health hazards associated with consuming too much fluoride. The U.S. has since decreased its recommended amount of fluoride in drinking water to a safe level. However, many skeptics believe it should be removed altogether. Around 70 percent of Americans drink fluoridated water.