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Lighter side of fluoride

To fluoridate or not to fluoridate? That's the question at the centre of one of the longest debates in Canadian history. Advocates of water fluoridation say it's a safe and effective way to reduce cavities. Opponents like the outspoken broadcaster Gordon Sinclair called it rat poison and a despicable communist plot. Water fluoridation: Great public service or a gross infringement of individual rights? The debate rages on.

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Discussion surrounding water fluoridation is usually bitter and controversial but CBC Radio's Assignment manages to have some fun with it anyway.

Satirist Eric Nicol takes a light-hearted look at the controversial topic. In this 1958 segment, Nicol takes aim at both sides of the fluoride camp, those who believe it's a great health benefit and those who say it's a red plot to poison our drinking water.

He weighs in on the debate suggesting that parents take lessons from nature. He says children should gnaw on wood in order promote healthy teeth since beavers have good teeth.
• Eric Nicol was a well-known "professional humourist" who has received Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour three times, in 1950, 1955, 1957.  He was born Dec. 28, 1919, and died Feb. 2, 2011.

• Beavers can gnaw through a log the thickness of a rolling pin in mere 30 seconds. Their teeth have a hard orange coating that protects from chipping. Beavers also have the ability to gnaw wood underwater.
Medium: Radio
Program: Assignment
Broadcast Date: Aug. 2, 1958
Commentator: Eric Nicol
Host: Maria Barrett, Bill McNeil
Duration: 3:34

Last updated: November 4, 2014

Page consulted on November 4, 2014

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