As in the case of Spokane, the city of Portland has also voted against water fluoridation multiple times. In reviewing the reasons why, a couple of things jumped out at me. First, city engineers estimated that it would require adding some 215,000 pounds of chemical fluoride to the Portland water supply annually. Shocked by that fact, the Portland chapter of the Sierra Club became one of the leading voices against fluoridation. Concern over the known and unknown impacts to fisheries also led the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission to become a strong fluoridation opponent.

To date, the Spokane City Council has failed to reveal how much fluoride would need to be added to Spokane’s water supply annually in order to maintain so-called “optimal” levels. Nor has the council fully assessed how the addition of 30, 50 or 70 tons of fluoride would affect downstream aquatic ecosystems that are already burdened under a heavy chemical load.

Studies conducted at the John Day reservoir from 1982-1986 conclusively proved that an accidental industrial fluoride discharge had devastating impacts on salmon migration. The citizens of Spokane deserve to know the potential impacts from accidental discharges as well as the cumulative effects of intentional daily releases of fluoride. The Spokane City Council’s job is to insure that our water supply remains clean and safe, not just for city residents, but for other living creatures as well.

Steve Busch

*Original letter online at

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