A new petition recently submitted to the City of Portland called the ‘Portland Clean Water Measure’ could be the next move in the fluoride debate.
On May 21, voters defeated a measure to put fluoride into Portland’s drinking water.
It was the first time in 30 years that the issue had been put on the ballot in Portland. The last time was in 1980 when voters repealed a 1978 voter-approved decision to add fluoride to the water. This time around the City Council voted to fluoridate the water last September but those opposed to it quickly organized and successfully gathered enough signatures to get the issue on the ballot.
Of course, we could see this on the ballot again as pro-fluoride groups reevaluate their strategy and the Portland Clean Water Measure appears to be the next move.
The petition actually never mentions fluoride. Instead, it states that the city shall not add any chemical or other substance to the drinking water that is a by-product of any industrial or manufacturing process.
What exactly does that mean?
Well, the Portland Water Bureau says make no mistake – this is an anti-fluoride petition. It was submitted by Kim Kaminski, who helped beat back the fluoridation measure earlier this month.
The water bureau told us that if voted on and passed, it would not affect how Portland’s water is currently treated. The language could be just to cover all bases.
“I think they were trying to make sure that nobody could parse their words and say ‘well, that’s not the fluoride you prohibited, it’s a different compound that you prohibited,’ ” said Shaff.
In an email sent to KATU News late Friday afternoon, Kim Kaminski, the chief petitioner, only would say that she is meeting next week to discuss the petition.
There is another line in the petition that would allow chemicals to be put in Portland’s water if it would help make the water drinkable.
If you’d like to explore the topic of fluoridation further, KATU Problem Solver Shellie Bailey-Shah delved into the issue before the election and produced a series of in-depth reports:
- Fluoride and kids’ teeth – what does the data show?
- Fluoride – can it hurt you?
- The environmental impact
- Study looked at fluoride vs. non-fluoride in Portland area
- Do you know what’s already in Portland’s water?
And did you know that the city of Salem has fluoridated its water since 1964? KATU Political Editor Steve Benham visited the plant that adds liquid fluorosilicic acid to Salem’s water supply to see exactly how the process works.