YES to Fluoridation…

6 May

Yes on 26When the whole issue of fluoridation for Portland water came up recently, I thought, naively, big woo.  Who cares?  Really is this an issue we need to be concerned about?  However, in the past six weeks, it has become a big deal, as I read the literature available and watched both campaigns for and against, I have to say I have come to strongly believe that we must vote YES on Fluoridation.

I have come around to this decision from a social justice and equity perspective.  While the campaign against make some interesting points and express legitimate concerns, the overwhelming scientific evidence and efforts toward equity in health care for Portlanders has won me over. Sadly, Oregon ranks in the top ten states for uninsured residents, with 35% of children having untreated tooth decay. Oral hygiene contributes to overall health in significant ways beyond tooth decay throughout life. While fluoride is especially helpful to children, it is important for low income and marginalized adults and seniors as well.

Portland is the largest (and one of only eight) major city in the country not to fluoridate its water. Opposition is mainly based on scare tactics that exploit and distort minor facts and half truths. The information that opponents use — linking fluoride to bone cancer, sick pets, and damaged wildlife — overlook two key facts. Significantly, the very data they use has been incorporated into the fluoridation proposal to ensure that levels will be safe and effective both. Second, many of the studies that are cited refer to other forms of fluoride, a natural mineral that — like many — can be beneficial or harmful depending on its form and its intensity.

Toothpaste and mouthwash aren’t enough, or Oregon (#48 nationwide in fluoridation rates) would not have the terrible oral hygiene problems that it does. The poor, elderly, and underserved are disproportionately impacted by not taking this simple, SAFE step. Again, I would point to the issue of equity.  If we remove barriers for underserved populations for tooth decay, pain, lost time in school, and periodontal disease, we are investing in everyone’s future by creating a stronger Portland with a stronger workforce. Dozens of organizations — including the ADA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the NASW — support this sensible move. Gov. John Kitzhaber, MD, has been a vocal advocate.

Portlanders should engage their civic spirit and sense of care for their fellows and vote yes on 26-151.


16 Responses to “YES to Fluoridation…”

  1. prideinmadness May 6, 2013 at 7:20 am #

    Pretty sure my water has had fluoride in it for a long time.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 6, 2013 at 7:22 am #

      I should have also pointed out that science has come so far that we are now able to control the levels of fluoride in the water.

    • nyscof May 6, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

      Modern science indicates that not only are American children over-dosed with fluoride and its ruining their teeth but that ingesting fluoride is ineffective at reducing tooth decay and harmful to health

      Fluoride is neither a nutrien nor essential for healthy teeth. Poor kids need dental care not more fluoride.

      It doesn’t make sense to dose children with fluoride based on thirst and not age, health, weight and need.

      Vote NO to fluoridation

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 12, 2013 at 7:35 am #

        Would you mind including what sources you are using? I have not found any science that corroborates your perspective here, so I would be very appreciative if you could supply the evidence you found. Many thanks, Michael

  2. dykewriter May 6, 2013 at 7:27 am #

    I think instead of fluoride

    anti-depressants and anti-psychotics are more in order

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 6, 2013 at 7:32 am #

      Thanks for the link.

      • dykewriter May 6, 2013 at 9:27 am #

        you’re welcome

        I was weirded out it didn’t Facebook convert

        after a while the internet just looks the same

        only the features vary

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 6, 2013 at 9:32 am #

        I am never certain of the mysterious and often times strange ways of the interwebs, Nina. 🙂

  3. Jay May 6, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    Also worth mentioning is that fluoridation will have no impact on the taste of Portland’s water. In terms of sheer flavor, the Bull Run watershed produces, in my opinion, the most delicious tap water I’ve ever encountered. Surmounting concerns regarding flavor can only assist the passage of the proposal.

    Also, as a Stanley Kubrick fan I feel compelled to mention General Jack D. Ripper, the villain in the uproarious “Dr. Strangelove,” whose stated motivation for triggering a nuclear holocaust was because of his deep concerns regarding fluoridation and his “precious bodily fluids”.

    It may not be entirely fair for anti-fluoridation activists to be associated with “Dr. Strangelove,” (for example, our understanding regarding the appropriate level of fluoride in drinking water has improved in the roughly 50 years since that movie was made). Despite that, I do believe it is fair to observe that anti-fluoridation paranoia is one of oldest and most notorious tropes of the Conspiracy Theory mindset.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 6, 2013 at 11:25 am #

      Jay, I must confess to a thrilling chuckle on my part with your comparison of the anti-fluoridation folk to Dr. Strangelove. Thank you for the very helpful comments about the taste of the water! I am rather surprised that so many folk are not able to see this as an equity issue and have been disappointed with the NON-TRUTHS coming from the anti-fluoridation side.

  4. ProFlo May 6, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    I am very happy I came across your blog in the comments of the HKHP FB page. I am absolutely shocked at the lack of awareness and understanding of Portland’s underserved communities. I am so tired of hearing “brush your teeth and floss” or “learn how to be better parents”. We don’t choose our parents and lots of uninsured Portlanders are barely getting by. This is a preventative public health measure that has been proven for the past 65 years to be safe, effective and gives you a huge bang for the buck. I always thought Portlanders were so progressive, I am now beginning to think they are just plain SELFISH. Vote YES on fluoride!

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 6, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

      Thank you for weighing in; you do a nice job of capturing how this is an important issue of equity. Sadly, it seems like the wonderful independent spirit of Portland is running afoul of the most recent research and the importance of this simple health measure.

  5. Pedro Flores May 12, 2013 at 1:24 am #

    Water fluoridation is a hot topic, especially for Portland , Ore. residents who are voting on the issue in May. The way that fluoride works to prevent tooth decay is unknown, but a report from Yahoo News on May 8 claims that answers to that question are coming shortly.

  6. Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 6, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    Nancy, thank you for reblogging this.


  1. YES to Fluoridation… | Social Justice For All | Central Oregon Coast NOW - May 6, 2013

    […] YES to Fluoridation… | Social Justice For All. […]

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