In Oregon, we don’t like sales taxes or self-serve gas, and we don’t like the government messing with our drinking water.
The great fluoride fight of 2001 proved that sentiment once again, when legislators considered a bill to require all cities to fluoridate. The pro-fluoride side got nowhere in Salem and now finds itself on the defensive.
Early this year, WW took a look at the science behind the debate, including extensive scientific overviews done recently for the Canadian and British governments that found that putting fluoride in water may not be such a good idea after all–particularly when toothpaste works just fine (see “The F-Word,” Feb. 21, 2000). In a follow-up story, WW reported on a little-known federal study that found that because the waterways are so pure in the Northwest, fluoride is particularly dangerous to salmon (see “Stoned Salmon, Pissed Environmentalists,” WW, March 28, 2001).
Eventually, Senate Bill 99, the mandatory fluoridation law, went down the drain. Since then, the town of Sutherlin, Ore., rejected water fluoridation by a two-to-one margin, and city councils in White Salmon and Goldendale, Wash., also rejected the idea. Then, in September, the national Sierra Club took a position against mandatory water fluoridation, citing, among other things, the WW article regarding concerns over endangered salmon in the Northwest.