The Grand Rapids Fluoride Study

The Bain Project.
Creative Commons License photo credit: helenadagmar

The latest headlines say the US. is planning to reduce fluoride in drinking water because of health concerns.  But, those same reports continue to praise fluoride and hail its great success in reducing tooth decay in the US. In reality, most cavities occur on pits and fissures of the teeth and the Centers for Disease Control admits that fluoride is not effective in preventing these cavities.  Experts have calculated that in the end, for most children, fluoride prevents cavities on ONE tooth surface.

Aliss Terpstra grew up in Grand Rapids, the first US community to be fluoridated.

Meet a Fluoride Poisoning Survivor Part 2 of 4

The Great Fluoride Experiment at Grand Rapids

By Sylvia P. Onusic, PhD, with contributions by Aliss Terpstra, CN

The city officials of Grand Rapids in the 1940s had no idea that fluoridation chemicals were toxic industrial waste contaminated with lead and arsenic. They had been reassured that fluoridation was just the “adjustment” of natural fluoride levels. The US Public Health Department, headed by the “father of fluoridation,” H. Trendley Dean, had examined the teeth of children drinking water with high natural fluoride and then approved what was supposed to be a 15 to 20 year study of artificial fluoridation in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The teeth of 30,000 school children were to be monitored up to adulthood, to show the American public that water fluoridation was safe and effective in preventing tooth decay.

According to Aliss Terpstra, now an anti-fluoride activist and survivor of the Grand Rapids study, the dental health results at Grand Rapids were quite different than what Dean had announced. The children in the cohort born after 1945 and exposed to fluoride from birth had fewer erupted permanent teeth, but more cavities and more dental fluorosis at age 7 than children born ten years earlier and not exposed before age 5, so the study was simply stopped. The Muskegon children born and raised without extra fluoride actually had better teeth. This information was removed from the study when it was published.

Under Oath The Truth Comes Out

When Dean’s early research on children drinking water with natural high fluoride was examined years later, it was found that he had “cherry-picked” his data from 21 cities, ignoring the data from 272 other communities that showed no benefit at all, in order to convince the authorities to “hurry up” their approval of the Grand Rapids experiment. Sometime later he admitted in court and under oath, that his data were not valid.

Grand Rapids started fluoridation in January of 1945 with great fanfare. The un-fluoridated control group was the neighboring town of Muskegon. The study intended to run for twenty years was terminated after barely five. Dean, now the dental director of National Institutes of Health, declared it a rousing success because decay rates in Grand Rapids children fell by 60%. At that time, Dean’s findings were considered wonderful news – to be free from dental decay at last, with a low-cost public health program! However, dental decay rates dropped everywhere after World War II – linked to the rise in average income that allowed the purchase of refrigerators, fresher foods and paying the dentist, not fluoride in water.

The small groups of nine to twelve year old children with reduced decay attributed to fluoridation were five years younger when fluoridation began – their permanent teeth were already starting to come in. The first group examined before 1945 was large and random; the follow up groups examined five years later were selected in advance based on gender (mostly boys), visibly normal front teeth, and school district (more affluent) – so much for blind, large random sampling required for good science!

Muskegon had quietly begun both oral fluoride rinse programs and fluoridation – invalidating it as a control. The dental health of Grand Rapids children born after 1947 – after only three years of the trial – was not followed up. The increase in pre-term births, anemia and miscarriages among young mothers was ignored. The increase in deaths from heart disease and cancers in middle aged adults, and shorter average lifespan of seniors, was hidden for years.

Public Health Program is Rolled Out Based on Flawed Study

On the basis of this one incomplete and scientifically fraudulent study, the United States was on its way to fluoridation. No other studies have been completed by the government, and the Public Health Service today continues to actively promote fluoride and liberally offers grants to communities who want to put in expensive fluoridation equipment. Yet long term consumption of fluoridated water has never been proven safe. Fluoridation really was a “shot in the dark”.

Aliss continues to work to educate consumers about fluoride, especially young families. She is angry because her parents’ generation was duped, and their children used experimentally by government officials who simply ignored the harm in order to promote fluoridation that now affects over 250 million Americans and Canadians. “On the basis of denying the harm done to us, the babies and children of Grand Rapids with no choice in the matter, they made false claims that water fluoridation was safe and even essential. It was fraud.”

Fluoride Researchers Still Fight to Get the Truth Out

That is the status of fluoridation research even today. In fact, every US researcher who has attempted to present their work about the detrimental health effects of fluoridation has been ostracized. Harvard University has participated in this cover-up. Even the National Library of Medicine will not index articles from the journal, Fluoride, in their listing, called Index Medicus and Public Health Reports.

But the question remains: if the reason that the government puts fluoride in the water is to prevent tooth decay in children, and fluoride in the water is harmful and not effective – as the very first Grand Rapids victims can attest – why is the government still promoting it?


Aliss Terpstra and Sylvia Onusic

Sylvia P. Onusic holds a BS in foods and nutrition, and a PhD in Health Education and Wellness, and has completed studies to qualify for RD (Registered Dietitian). She was a home economics teacher for many years. Her concentration is in holistic nutrition with a focus on the evolution of food and the human body in relation to food allergies and disease. Sylvia is the mother of two teenage sons, one on whom has celiac disease. She has several food allergies as well.


Aliss Terpstra

Aliss Terpstra, the subject of this story, contributed to and edited this article. Today, she is a nutritionist (CNP) and member of Weston A. Price Foundation in Toronto teaching clients how to find real food, prepare it and eat it to improve health.

For more information, see the Fluoride Action Network website.

See part one of this series, Meet a Fluoride Poisoning Survivor

For more information, see the Fluoride Action Network website.

Here is a review of  The Fluoride Deception by Christopher Bryson on the Weston A. Price Foundation website.

Tomorrow, The Weston Price Diet– Key to Recovery from Fluoride Toxicity.


  1. Sylvia, this is a great series. Thank you for exposing that the whole “scientific basis” for the use of fluoride is a fraud.

    One possible explanation that has been given as to why the government promotes fluoride is this – The Nazis added fluoride to the water that was given to their prisoners in the concentration camps, because it made them more docile and confused them, making them much easier to control. I do not know if this is why the government is supporting the use of this deadly poison, but it is a possible explanation.

    This is supported by a very recent study that connected the use of fluoridated water to decreased IQ and intelligence.

    There is much evidence that fluoride harms the underlying health of the teeth, creating endless new business for the dental profession, which may be why the dental profession is such a fanatical supporter of Fluoride use, even going to the extreme of threatening to sue towns that consider ending the use of this poison.

  2. Very nicely done, Sylvia.

  3. What an amazingly alarming subject. Stanley, I’ve been reading a few books on the Federal Reserve “conspiracy” theories (quotes on conspiracy because it’s a word that can be crossed out, in my opinion) and according to “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” Robert Kiyosaki’s latest book “Conspiracy of the Rich”, many things are done to the masses to dumb them down….keep them on their side of the fence in life. The education never teaches about money, and many documents verify the Board of Education keeping curriculums “dumbed down” to create obedient soldiers, if you will, to fill all those government jobs.

    So many things about our government coming together at this time. The food issue and the food freedoms we fight for are another part of a larger scheme to keep us in line, keep us sluggish and obedient. Keep filling our heads with “reality shows”, celebrity gossip and some chemical, trans fat filled, dead food to wash down our dose of fluoride laced water. My sister put this toxin in her child’s food everyday at her baby’s 6 month mark. Can you imagine? I wasn’t savvy to all the WAPF info when my babies were small, but at least I had enough skepticism to make me question fluoride. I did not put my children on it. Funny that I felt frightened because it’s like stepping out of the herd, like not vaccinating your children. You’re either in the herd…or out. I had a food in both camps and always felt out of sync. Glad to have found this community of informed carrying people. I’m no longer out of sync, but perfectly in rhythm with real foodies! Thanks for a great article!

  4. Sorry to re-comment, just fixed my blogfrog profile and thought it better for connecting with others. Healthful day to all!

  5. Are there any filters that filters out fluoride? Does anyone know where I can get one? I already have a fancy 10 stage one, but it does not get rid of fluoride 🙁

    Thanks for putting all this information out there. I grew up drinking water from a well, but my parents gave me fluoride pills to chew on before bed. I wonder what harm those did….

  6. Anne Linn, a reverse osmosis filtering system will remove fluoride. So will a water distiller. As far as I know, no other filter will do this.

    Nancy, there is a book, “Dumbing us Down”, written by a former bureaucrat in the Department of Education. The book is hard to read, as it is mainly a collection of minutes of various meetings, but it provides very strong evidence that the education system in the United States is deliberately making students dependent, compliant, obedient to authority, unable to think for themselves, able to do things only in groups, believing what they are told, desperate to conform and be accepted at all costs.

  7. I’m so glad you’re raising awareness on fluoride… I got a personal experience to share… I used to suffer from acne for over 10 years, and heard from someone that the water I was using to wash my face could’ve something to do with it. So one month I decided to wash my face with filtered water instead of tap water(which had fluoride). I had no breakouts that month and as soon as I switched back to tap water, my acne returned.

  8. Stan,

    That is absolutely right, a reverse osmosis RO system will remove all impurities, inlcuding minerals. You can buy mineral to add back to the water.
    Dont forget that you are also getting fluoride through your shower- the key is to put the RO on the house tap.

    And please dont forget your animals- dogs tend to get a tumor -osteosarcoma- which is associated with fluoride water. All animals can benefit from spring water. Cathy Justus telsl a very sad story about her horses being poisoned by drinking fluoride water:

    If you cook with fluoride watert in aluminum pans, their is a synergistic effect.


  9. Sad to say, but we live right by Grand Rapids where all this took place. As frustrating as it is to talk to medical doctors about things like healthy fats, it’s just as frustrating talking to dentists about Fl – I’ve never met one who questions these Fl studies, although I hear there are some out there!

    We have a RO water system, and I just wish there was another option, I don’t like “adding back in” minerals, it sounds so unnatural. A long time ago Sally Fallon told me to just eat more sea salt, which has minerals, but still, I want the minerals in our water where they belong and where I know we’re getting natural amounts, but just not with Fl and Chlorine and all the other junk we paid a lot of money to have removed.

    If anyone finds out about a good filter please let me know!


  10. If you want fluoride in your water, put it in your own glass of water, leave the rest of us out of it.
    If fluoride were “proven,” there should be evidence of its glory in the U.S. state, Kentucky, which has been 100% fluoridated for over 40 years. Kentucky, however, leads the nation in the number of dental cavities in children, and in the number of completely toothless adults, according to government records. The same ineffectiveness is evident in many states and cities.

    Most of Europe (16 countries) has rejected fluoridation and is 98% fluoride free. and the WHO reports that they have a better tooth decay rate than any fluoridated country.
    There are many large scientific studies to show that that drinking fluoridated water has no effect on cavity reduction and to show that it causes cancer and other health problems. The best source for scientific information on fluoridation can be found here: (

    Both the CDC and the ADA have stated polities that infants and babies should not consume fluoride. Exactly why won’t they publicize this information for young mothers?

  11. It amazes me how fast the dentist will get his “back up” on the topic of flouride. I think deep down they know something’s wrong but are too afraid to step out of the “ADA line”. Sadly, our small town has “just” added flouride to the city drinking water. Why? The community voted in favor of it! Wish I could live long enough to say “I told you so” but will probably have to leave that to my kids.

  12. Sylvia, Kelly,

    What we do is add a generous amount of Celtic Sea Salt to the bone broth we make regularly. Celtic Sea Salt is very rich in minerals, in a natural balance. We also add it to the fish broth we make. We have a cup of each every day. Seems to work well.

    It is a shame that we have to got to all this trouble and expense, but it is much better than being poisoned.

  13. Eric Brody says:

    I summarized my notes on water filter and water here:

    In it, I have to say the Jim McMahon of is probably the best person who understand and explains it well and help pick the best filter out.

  14. Debbiefriggens says:

    Is there an anti-fluoridation group in West Michgan?


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