Fluoride Action Network

Portland Water Fluoridation: A Newspaper Analysis

Source: Public Health Nursing (Epub ahead of print]) | July 21st, 2016 | By A Bianchi, MD Bergren, PR Lewis.
Location: United States, Oregon

Abstract: Portland, Oregon is the largest city in the United States without community water fluoridation (CWF). A newspaper analysis was conducted of the failed 2013 CWF campaign to evaluate anti-fluoridation and pro-fluoridation messaging provided by newspapers during the campaign. News content was categorized by type and slant (pro-fluoridation, anti-fluoridation, or neutral) and 34 variables were tabulated (23 anti-fluoridation, 11 pro-fluoridation). Results showed overall messaging was slightly pro-fluoridation, as compared to anti-fluoridation or neutral content (35%, 32%, and 33% respectively). Editorial content was 85% pro-fluoridation and 15% anti-fluoridation. The most frequent anti-fluoridation variables were alternatives to water fluoridation, mass/forced medication and concerns about the political process. Conversely, tooth decay and social justice were the most commonly cited pro-fluoridation variables. Newspapers can be influential in shaping public policy opinions in the fight for community water fluoridation.