A bill requiring cities to add fluoride to their water to prevent tooth decay cleared a House Committee Friday — without a recommendation on its merits.
The move sends the passionately argued fluoridation bill to the House floor. A similar Senate bill has yet to get a hearing.
Oregon ranks 48th among states in percentage of residents with fluoridated water. The bill would mandate fluoridation in cities of more than 10,000.
Federal health officials hail fluoridation as one of the top 10 public health advances of the 20th century, and it estimates that every dollar invested in fluoridation saves $38 in reduced dental costs.But in Oregon, a coalition of anti-government conservatives, advocates of local control and environmentalists has blocked statewide fluoridation.
Rep. Scott Bruun of West Linn, the only Republican committee member to favor moving the bill to the House floor, said he was undecided until his wife, the daughter of a dentist, told him: “If you do not support fluoridation of water, I cannot support your re-election.”