Michaela Martin wants fluoride out of Lebanon’s water.
She spoke during the citizen comments section at the Oct. 9 Lebanon city council meeting.
Fluoride was originally added to water to prevent tooth decay, she said. But now people get fluoride treatments when they go to the dentist. She said even if people cannot afford to go to the dentist, there are many free clinics.
“I feel like the idea that people can’t afford dental care is not as prominent as it was was in 1940,” Martin said.
Martin said Harvard has done studies that point to a connection between fluoride in water and increases in bone cancer.
“Fluoride wasn’t intended to be ingested,” Martin said.
Martin said she hasn’t done anything like this before and asked councilors what to do next.
“At this point, we’ve had some other people discuss it at council,” said Mayor Paul Aziz.
The council could put it on the agenda at a later time, he added.
“Quite honestly, I’m concerned the fluoride could be a problem,” said Councilor Wayne Rieskamp.
Rieskamp said he would like the city to provide information for and against fluoridation.
“At some point in time I think the citizens of Lebanon should have a chance to have a say,” Rieskamp said.
City Manager Dana Hlavac said they could talk about the issue at the Oct. 23 work session when they are talking about the water treatment plant.
There are other communities in Oregon, such as Portland, that have decided to keep fluoride out of their water, Rieskamp said.
When Martin asked if councilors wanted her to bring more information, Councilor Barry Scott said they rely on testimony from other folks because they are not experts.
“Bring what you think would be appropriate,” Scott said.
At the Aug. 15, 2012, council meeting, citizen Monte Riddle spoke about fluoride too.
He demonstrated the difference in the amount and method of use between toothpaste and water.
The warning on the toothpaste tube said to get medical help immediately if more than a pea-sized amount was swallowed, he said.
Dentists use fluoride as a topical agent, Riddle said.
He said researchers at Harvard did a study about the dangers of fluoride, linking it to cardiovascular disease, tumor growth, and low IQ.
He compared fluoride in water to lead in paint, in that they were both originally deemed safe.
Then city manager John Hitt said the water in Lebanon has been fluoridated for about 12 years. Lebanon has 0.06 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water.
The councilors at that time agreed the issue of fluoridating the water should be revisited, though no timeline was decided.
Riddle spoke again at the Sept. 19, 2012, city council meeting.
Councilor Ron Miller moved to add the issue of fluoridation back on the ballot in the spring, but instead agreed with city attorney Tre’ Kennedy to add it as a topic of discussion for the next council meeting.
Councilors and city staff discussed the issue again on Oct. 10, 2012, during the city managers report, according to the minutes for that meeting.
“Lebanon is at, or is sometimes under, the recommended rate,” according to the minutes. “No federal government agencies or large dental/medical associations advocate against adding fluoride, but there are individual doctors or other organizations advocating that fluoride is a health danger and should not be added.”
City staff took the position not to make any changes to reduce or eliminate fluoride in the city’s water, but said they could change that depending on the council’s wishes.
Former councilor Ray Weldon agreed with Miller’s previous suggestion to leave it to the vote of the people.
According to the minutes, Miller said the population used for the Harvard study was in China, so other environmental factors may not have been taken into account.
Councilor Floyd Fisher commented that there was not a lack of information when this was discussed before, according to the minutes.
The work session is scheduled for noon on Oct. 23 at the Santiam Travel Station, 750 Third St.