Leona Baumgartner

Sunday, March 18, 1956

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Baumgartner, Commissioner of Health, answers questions about the department.

Marvin Sleeper moderates.

Paulette Singer, Penny Fox, Jim Farrell, Bill Beecher


Fluoride strengthens the enamel of teeth and makes tooth decay more difficult. One part per million is the right amount to have in the system. There's no real danger point because you couldn't drink enough water in a lifetime to hurt you. Some water supplies have 17 parts per million, and those people do get spots on their teeth. Engineers know how to regulate how much is put in the water, much like chlorine. No cumulative effects. No adverse effects anywhere on the body. There are a lot of people who are against things in general. The safety has been conclusively proven. Some towns have been using fluoride for generations. "One of the few experiments God has done." Artificially fluoridated water began in 1938. One Department of Water Supply chemist is against it, but hes the only opposition. Nine cents per person per year. Half a million dollars to put the machinery in place. It is not mass medication. A lot of things interfere with personal liberty - vaccination requirements, stop lights. Those people can go to private schools or buy bottled water. Wonder drugs have come out of the same institutions now backing fluoridation.

Salk vaccine update.

Tuberculosis problem is much more important. It's something you can do something about. There are at least 10,000 people wandering around the city with the disease. Mobile units to screen people.

Cancer studies: trying early cancer screening.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 72291
Municipal archives id: lt7080


Leona Baumgartner, Bill Beecher, Jim Farrell, Penny Fox, Paulette Singer and Marvin Sleeper


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About Campus Press Conference

This is not your run-of-the-mill 'student conference.'

"For the answers to these and other questions..." Each Campus Press Conference (1951-1962) begins with a slew of questions from the student editors of New York City college newspapers, delivered with the controlled seriousness of a teenager on the radio for the first time. Despite their endearing greenness, the student editors pose sharp inquiries to guests from the fields of science, finance, culture, and politics. 

With the country on the cusp of radical cultural and political change, these recordings offer insight to student empowerment movements, flower power, and hippie culture – a time when the youth of America began to realize their tremendous impact and ability to shape their futures. The passion and curiosity of young people is heard through interviews with elected and appointed officials and experts.

Notable guests include Jackie Robinson, Joseph Papp, Averill Harriman, and Senator Jacob Javits.


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