Fluoridation On Tap For Portland City Council

Sep 13, 2012

Wednesday the Portland City Council is expected to pass an ordinance to add fluoride to the municipal water system. Anti-fluoridation groups have been outspoken in their opposition to the move but Mayor Sam Adams and two commissioners have already voiced their support, ensuring a majority on the five-member panel.

Kimberly Kaminski is Director of "Clean Water Portland." Her group opposes adding fluoride to city water supplies.

Kaminski says the three commissioners who have voiced their support for fluoridation have refused to meet with her organization for more than a year and a half.

"They came out endorsing fluoridation as a policy, prior to any public input whatsoever. Again, the public has been totally excluded from this process."

Kaminski's group cites the potential dangers of contaminants in fluoride, such as arsenic and lead, environmental concerns and the question that low-income children will benefit from wholesale water fluoridation.

"The real issue right here is access to dental care. You know we have programs in place for example in Portland Public Schools, the children can get fluoride tablets. I know my own dentist sells six months of fluoride tablets for five dollars. If people, you know they have the option but if you put it in the drinking water, you don't have the option."

Some major state players advocate for use of the mineral to fight tooth decay--including the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Dental Association. In a letter to Portland residents, Mayor Adams says the city would fluoridate water at point seven parts per million, the low end of the national recommendation.

Clean water Portland plans an initiative for the May 2014 ballot, but Kaminski says one commissioner has pledged fluoridation will begin before that.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio