Prof. Catherine Carstairs was interviewed on July 26 by BBC Radio 4 for a feature called “Fluorine: Chemistry’s Tiger.”

The feature explored fluoride chemistry and history and the ongoing debate about whether it should be added to public water supplies.

A professor in U of G’s Department of History, Carstairs talked about the history of fluoridated water and said many people believe adding fluoride to water against their will is a violation of civil liberties. She also said water fluoridation was prompted by big industry including the sugar industry.

She said fluoridation opponents believe fluoride is linked to allergies, kidney malfunction, birth defects and cancer.

Carstairs said a mass of evidence shows that fluoride is a safe public health intervention, but some people continue to be suspicious.

She studies fluoridation and dentistry, health and history of water fluoridation.