Note: this article was originally published on May 10, 2013 as the fourth installment of my six part series for Mismanaging Perception on the unsuccessful campaign to fluoridate Portland’s water supply. It’s worth noting that this was my only guest submission to Blue Oregon to ever be rejected.
By now you’ve likely received your special election ballot in the mail, and if you’ve been focused on the issue of adding fluorosilicic acid, (aka fluoride) into our drinking water, you’ve likely already voted and mailed your ballot. If you’re one of the thousands of Portlanders who haven’t yet voted and are undecided, well, you’ve got a lot of arguments to weigh.
The pro-fluoride lobby is represented by a well funded group called ‘Healthy Kids Healthy Portland’ (HKHP) that formed after a failed attempt by Upstream Public Health to pass fluoridation through city hall without a public vote. These closed door lobbying sessions were kept off the city’s calendar.
HKHP argues that Portland is in the midst of a “dental crisis”, and that fluoridation of our drinking water is the best way to combat this problem. Yet Portland’s rate of tooth decay is half that of Oregon’s statewide statistics, and far below the national average where a majority of municipalities are fluoridated. In fact, according to a KATU News investigation that required two Freedom of Information Act requests, fluoridation produces almost no reduction to tooth decay statistics.