The Portland branch of the NAACP has voted to oppose fluoridating Portland’s water supply.
“Children growing up in communities of color already face risks from many different environmental chemicals,” NAACP political chair Cheryl Carter said in a statement this afternoon, “and they do not need more chemicals added to their drinking water.”
Portland Branch 1120 of the NAACP made its endorsement decision over the weekend. It says the city should instead focus on providing children greater access to dental care.
Clifford Walker, chair of the branch veteran’s committee, says he believes the vote was unanimous.
“They had been debating the issue vigorously for several months,” Walker says. “People with diabetes would be [affected] by adding fluoride to the water. African-Americans have a higher rate of diabetes.”
The decision, he says, is “in the best interest of our constituents.”
The NAACP announcement is the second major development today in a campaign that has hinged on the dental health of minority and low-income children.
A key narrative of this spring’s fluoridation campaign has been that fluoride supporters had gathered a coalition of 80 groups representing low-income and minority Portlanders, while the anti-fluoride campaign had none.
WW reported this morning that the pro-fluoridation campaign, Healthy Kids Healthy Portland, has rewarded that support with cash payments totaling more than $119,000. Groups like the Urban League, the Native American Youth and Family Center and the Latino Network are using that money for “outreach,” according to Evyn Mitchell, the campaign manager for Healthy Kids.