Portland is the largest (and one of only eight) major city in the country not to fluoridate its water. Opposition is mainly based on scare tactics that exploit and distort minor facts and half truths. The information that opponents use — linking fluoride to bone cancer, sick pets, and damaged wildlife — overlook two key facts. Significantly, the very data they use has been incorporated into the fluoridation proposal to ensure that levels will be safe and effective both. Second, many of the studies that are cited refer to other forms of fluoride, a natural mineral that — like many — can be beneficial or harmful depending on its form and its intensity.
Toothpaste and mouthwash aren’t enough, or Oregon (#48 nationwide in fluoridation rates) would not have the terrible oral hygiene problems that it does. The poor, elderly, and underserved are disproportionately impacted by not taking this simple, SAFE step. Again, I would point to the issue of equity. If we remove barriers for underserved populations for tooth decay, pain, lost time in school, and periodontal disease, we are investing in everyone’s future by creating a stronger Portland with a stronger workforce. Dozens of organizations — including the ADA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the NASW — support this sensible move. Gov. John Kitzhaber, MD, has been a vocal advocate.
Portlanders should engage their civic spirit and sense of care for their fellows and vote yes on 26-151.