Other notable deaths

Other notable deaths

August 22, 2007

Dr. Duncan W. Clark, 96

Voice for fluoridated water

Dr. Duncan W. Clark, a public-health expert who became a persuasive advocate for adding fluoride to New York City's water supply in the early 1960s, when opponents claimed the health risks far outweighed the rewards, died Aug. 5 at his home in Brooklyn. He was 96.

A specialist in preventive medicine, Dr. Clark lent a learned voice to the benefits to teeth and general health obtained by adding a minute amount of fluoride to the public water. From 1951 to 1978, he was chairman of the department of environmental medicine and community health at the State University of New York's Downstate campus in Brooklyn.

In 1959 and 1960, Dr. Clark argued that fluoridation would be neither unsafe nor too expensive. He noted a 1950s study of children in Philadelphia that demonstrated a 50 percent decline in rates of tooth decay. He estimated the annual cost of treating cavities at $2 billion, "making teeth the most costly part of the human body."

"For 10 cents or less per person per year," Dr. Clark told The New York Times in 1960, "a large part of this universal disorder could be wiped out."

He studied other threats to public health and did surveys on hand-washing, which he considered an important public health measure, finding doctors no more scrupulous than other workers.

Magdalen Nabb, 60

British mystery writer

Magdalen Nabb, a British author who wrote crime novels about a quirky Italian investigator, died of a stroke Saturday in Florence, Italy, where she had lived and worked since 1975, said Diogenes Verlag AG, her Swiss publisher. She was 60.

Ms. Nabb's most popular novels featured the Sicilian-born police detective Marshal Salvatore Guarnaccia, who was described by Publishers Weekly as "an unusual protagonist for a crime novel: He's neither a Bond-like sophisticate nor a recovering loser."

She published 13 books in the series, the most recent being The Innocent in 2005. A 14th book is to be released next year.

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