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No happy medium in fluoride debate

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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Ever since the 1940s when universal water fluoridation was first considered, the issue has deeply divided Canadians.

You either saw fluoride as a necessary public service, providing universal dental care to both rich and poor or a repugnant communist plot to take away our basic rights.

This rift is evident in this heated exchange between the great fluoride opponent, broadcaster Gordon Sinclair, and Front Page Challenge mystery guest Dr. Wesley Dunn, chairman of the fluoridation committee for the Health League of Canada and editor of the Canadian Dental Journal.
• During the 1950s, Gordon Sinclair picked up the fight against fluoride and made it a national crusade.

• He began his career as a newspaper reporter for The Toronto Star in 1922 at age 22.

• He was the host of the popular radio talk show called Let's Be Personal on CFRB Toronto. It continued until Sinclair's death in 1984.

• In 1957, Sinclair became a permanent member of a weekly panel show called Front Page Challenge on CBC-TV. It became the Canada's longest-running television program. It continued until 1995.
Medium: Television
Program: Front Page Challenge
Broadcast Date: Jan. 7, 1958
Guest(s): Dr. Wesley Dunn
Host: Fred Davis
Panellist: Toby Robins, Gordon Sinclair
Duration: 11:16

Last updated: February 20, 2015

Page consulted on February 20, 2015

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