The debate over the safety of fluoridated water has come to the forefront once again, now that Oregon Citizens for Safe Drinking Water, which is opposed to a plan to add fluoride to Portland’s water, is asking voters to ban the substance in 2014. Portland’s city council recently voted to add fluoride to the water supplies of nearly 900,000 residents in Portland, Gresham, Tigard and Tualatin.
Supporters and opponents of fluoridated water will have a chance to make their voices heard locally, too now that the discussion has been added to the agenda for the next city council meeting on Sept. 4.
Scappoose has been adding fluoride to its water supply since 2000. According to City Manager Jon Hanken, there has been very little comment from the public or elected officials about it over the years.
“There was a policy decision made by the council to fluoridate the water and we’ve been fluoridating it ever since. We provide the fluoride at a rate that’s proscribed, right now it’s .07 parts per million,” said Hanken.
The discussion item was added to the city council agenda at the request of one of the councilors.
For Hanken, who grew up in the Midwest where the practice of adding fluoride to the water is common practice, it’s really a non-issue.
“Most of the time, people just call and ask if we add fluoride to the water. We say yes and that’s it,” Hanken said.
Unlike Scappoose, St. Helens’ water supply does not contain fluoride. And plant operator Howie Burton hopes to keep it that way.
“I worked for a water utility in Alaska and there we did add fluoride. It’s the only product that I’ve ever seen out of all these hazardous chemicals that are around, like chlorine and caustic soda, that had a skull and crossbones on the package,” said Burton. “It was very dangerous for us to add it.”
The Scappoose City Council meets in council chambers, 33568 East Columbia Ave., on Sept. 4 due to the holiday weekend. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.