As Portlanders, we are passionate about our drinking water, which is some of the world’s best.
Protecting our right to clean water is something that brings us together.
It’s not surprising that Portlanders have rejected three attempts to fluoridate our drinking water. What is surprising, however, is that the City Council is poised to ignore the will of the voters and push fluoridation chemicals into our water, and to do so without public input or thoughtful debate.
The announcement of support for the fluoridation plan by Mayor Sam Adams and Commissioners Randy Leonard and Nick Fish in these circumstances is representative government at its worst. Their closed-door meetings with well-funded political consultants representing the fluoridation lobby are one-sided, and likely failed to raise the most fundamental questions about fluoridation chemicals and their risks.
Proponents of fluoridation like to make the “everybody is doing it” argument, but what exactly is it that they want to add to our water?
Many who think that fluoridation is the answer to tooth decay are not aware that the chemicals used to fluoridate water are byproducts of the phosphate fertilizer industry. Proponents of fluoridation have admitted this, and it is acknowledged and well-documented by the National Academy of Sciences and other credible experts.
This is the reason Clean Water Portland, a new organization committed to protecting Portland’s water from fluoridation chemicals, recently filed a ballot measure making sure that the city “shall not add any chemical or other substance to the city’s drinking water that is a byproduct of any industrial or manufacturing process …”
This measure does not apply to chemicals used to make water drinkable.
It’s not just the idea of adding an industrial byproduct to Portland’s clean drinking water that is concerning. Like most industrial waste, fluoridation chemicals are far from pure. In fact, 43 percent of fluoridation chemicals tested positive for arsenic contamination. The National Sanitation Foundation also found that fluoridation chemicals tested positive for lead and mercury, but it downplayed the effects of those contaminates.
What parent would knowingly add toxic metals, such as lead, arsenic and mercury, to their child’s diet? Yet this is exactly what we will be doing if we fluoridate Portland’s water.
Several studies have concluded that there is no safe level of lead or arsenic. Even small increases in consumption of these heavy metals increase the risk of cancer, decreased IQ and other serious health consequences.
In addition to the problematic source and contamination of the fluoridation chemicals, a recent flood of scientific studies from credible institutions such as the National Academy of Sciences and Harvard identified serious health risks related to fluoride exposure, ranging from cancer and neurological damage to increased risks of bone fractures and decreased childhood IQ.
We all know children’s dental health is important. There are better ways to promote healthy teeth than wholesale dumping of fluoridation chemicals into Portland’s world-class water.