Restaurant owners Igor Rakuz, left, who owns GRO Cafe, and Oliver Outerbridge, who owns Bonobo, today kicked off a petition campaign to force a referendum in the towns served by the Portland Water District that would ask voters if they want to remove fluoride from the water system. The grassroots group they’re heading is called Fluoride Leave Our Water, or FLOW.
The press conference took place at GRO and and was attended by a number of local reporters. Here Oliver tells the cameras that he learned the local water was fluoridated after he joined the Take Back the Tap campaign, which advocates against serving bottled water in restaurants. He called ending fluoridation the “real way to take back the tap.”
Fluoride was first added to the water in 1997, after residents voted to do so. The practice remains controversial, with the Maine community of Bar Harbor recently opting to remove fluoride from its public water.
Oliver cited the link between fluoride in drinking water and diseases such as cancer and thyroid problems.
“It’s a form of mass medication,” he said. “We do not feel mass medication is constitutional or ethical.”
He added “fluoride only works topically, not when you ingest it.”
This campaign is sure to attract a lot of attention, with natural food moms on one side and medical doctors on the other. It’s interesting that these two restaurant owners, both of whom are known for emphasizing sustainable food in in their eateries, have joined the fight. Look for FLOW volunteers with petitions when you go to the polls tomorrow.
Posted by Avery Yale Kamila