The campaign against Measure 26-151, which would fluoridate Portland’s water, has received one of its largest single donations—from an Illinois-based alternative physician who makes unusual medical claims.
Dr. Joseph Mercola donated $15,000 in cash to Clean Water Portland on April 28, and the campaign reported the contribution over the weekend.
That’s the third-largest single donation to the anti-fluoride campaign, and brings Mercola’s total donations to $26,975, including in-kind contributions of polling and a YouTube video.
Mercola runs Dr. Mercola’s Natural Health Center in Hoffman Estates, Ill.—a hugely popular health products company that directly markets items including water filtration systems to remove fluoride from kitchen taps.
WW first reported Mercola’s involvement in the anti-fluoride campaign last month.
Mercola has questioned whether HIV causes AIDS, suggests that many cancers can be cured by baking soda, and warns parents not to vaccinate their children. He also says that animals are psychic.
His views have landed him national fame and controversy. He’s twice been a guest on The Dr. Oz Show, and last year Chicago Magazine wrote a skeptical profile. It noted how popular his website has become:
According to traffic-tracking firm Quantcast, Mercola.com draws about 1.9 million unique visitors per month, each of whom returns an average of nearly ten times a month. That remarkable “stickiness” puts the site’s total visits on a par with those to the National Institutes of Health’s website. (Mercola claims his is “the world’s No. 1 natural health website,” citing figures from Alexa.com.) Mercola’s 200,000-plus “likes” on Facebook are more than double the number for WebMD. And two of his eight books—2003’s The No-Grain Diet and 2006’s The Great Bird Flu Hoax—have landed on the New York Times bestseller list.
Mercola’s latest contribution bring Clean Water Portland’s total raised this year to $219,000, with $25,000 remaining on hand. The pro-fluoride campaign, Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland, has raised $643,000 and has $200,000 on hand.
Ballots were mailed last week and will be counted May 21.