March 21, 2019

Archives for May 2013

Advocates, opponents argue whether to keep fluoride in drinking water

Forced-Baby-Fluoridation-COF-COF-350-x-350By: Tyler Kula, Sarnia Observer, Sarnia, Ontario 28-May-2013 – For Allison Whyte, getting fluoride out of drinking water is a personal matter.

The 53-year-old’s two daughters developed fluorosis – a mottling of the teeth caused by excessive fluoride – when they were 10 and 12 years old.

Her solution: get rid of the controversial chemical.

“I got Culligan water, I didn’t have fluoride treatments at the dentist, I didn’t have fluoride toothpaste, there was no fluoride at all,” said Whyte, one of 26 people who stepped to the microphone to speak at a public meeting about fluoride in local drinking water Tuesday at Sarnia city hall.

Council is preparing to vote June 24 on whether to keep fluoride in local drinking water – introduced in the 1960s to help prevent tooth decay.

Advocates and opponents of the current 0.7-parts-per-million fluoride level in municipal taps cited scores of studies on both sides of the issue throughout the two-and-a-half hour meeting, with about 60 people in attendance.

For Whyte, her experience is what makes the difference: her daughters’ teeth returned to normal after 12 years without fluoride, she said.

“I think first do no harm,” she said, noting she has concerns about what maladies fluoridated drinking water might cause, and says there’s no definitive proof of its benefits.

“They shouldn’t be medicating water,” she said.

The Sarnia woman’s views were echoed by two thirds of the speakers at the open house.

“In a just and fair society, the decision to medicate ourselves with fluoride should reside with the individual,” said Sarnia resident Zak Nicholls.

Canada’s Chief Dental Officer Peter Cooney defended fluoridated water and spent part of his five-minute allotment describing how dental disease is the number one chronic disease among children and adolescents in Canada.

“It is critically important to reduce dental disease,” he said.

There is no conclusive evidence fluoride causes bone fractures or other diseases sometimes linked to its consumption, he said.

Hydrofluorosilicic acid, the chemical added to water for the Lambton Area Water Supply System (LAWSS)’s six municipalities – Lambton Shores, Warwick Township, St. Clair Township, Plympton-Wyoming, Sarnia, and Point Edward – breaks down into fluoride, hydrogen and another element when added to the water supply, he said.

Those LAWSS municipalities have equal say in whether fluoride stays and LAWSS replaces its aging $300,000 fluoridation system, or goes – even though Sarnia consumes 70% of the area’s water. Typically the city has five votes, but fluoride votes are an exception, LAWSS officials have said.

Dr. Sudit Ranade, Lambton County’s medical officer of health, has said fluoride added to drinking water at the proper rate is safe and doesn’t cause adverse effects.

Other fluoride proponents at the meeting included representatives from the Ontario Association for Public Health Dentistry, the Lambton Dental Hygienist Society, the Lambton County Dental Society, and the Ontario Dental Association.

Cooney said every dollar spent on fluoridation saves $38 in dental care costs.

More than 90 professional health organizations, including Health Canada, support current fluoride levels in water.

City councillors Mike Kelch and Andy Bruziewicz attended the meeting, and several speakers were critical that the mayor and other council members weren’t present.

Sarnia’s last vote on fluoridated water was in 2010 and ended in a tie. Kelch was absent, but has recently said he is opposed to fluoridated water.

City engineer Andre Morin said all information at the meeting will be submitted to council members so they can make an informed decision.

The deadline to submit information on the issue is Friday. Written materials can be sent to

Fluoride increasingly removed from water supply despite lack of evidence it is harmful

By: Jen Gerson, National Post, Calgary, Alberta 24-May-2013 – Depending on who you ask, and when, fluoride is either one of the top public health initiatives of the 20th century, or a poison artificially injected into the water supply.

Fluoridated water is endorsed by virtually every credible health organization in North America, including Health Canada, the Centre for Disease Control and numerous dental associations. Yet, in its 60-year history, no public health measure has stirred up as much controversy and fear as the addition of the ion into the public water supply.

There are some concerns about whether fluoride doses need to be as high as they are, given the widespread use of the ion in food and toothpaste. But the more serious health claims made by anti-fluoride activists — including an alleged link between fluoride and reduced IQ — have been found wanting after scientific scrutiny by Health Canada and other researchers.

And yet, as decades have passed — and ongoing studies continue to show the efficacy and safety of minute amounts of fluoride in preventing cavities — the controversy continues. Campaigns to de-fluoridate the water supply continue to succeed at an ever growing pace across the country and continent.

Waterloo, Calgary and Windsor are among the most recent major municipalities to stop adding fluoride; Windsor cut its supply only weeks ago. Smaller municipalities have done it too: Okotoks, Alta., Lasalle, Ont., and Moncton, N.B.

To flouride’s many supporters, the decision has led to utterly predictable results: Calgary dentists are already reporting an increase in tooth decay since fluoride was removed in 2011.

“On the private side of practice, it does seem to be to be getting worse. The waiting lists are longer and longer for specialists,” said Dr. Kuen Chow, a local dentist who volunteers his time to help children who have escaped domestic violence.

“For us, we’re advocating for fluoride even though it’s going to hurt our bottom line. We don’t really care. We don’t want to see kids suffering.”

Municipalities vote to eliminate fluoride often despite the objections of their own experts; in Calgary’s case, Alberta Health Service actively urged the city to continue fluoridation. Dr. Allen Heimann, the medical officer of health at the Windsor Essex County Health Unit, failed to convince his city to keep the additive.

“Certainly the removal of fluoride does concern us,’’ he said.

“We do have to recognize that fluoridation of the water supply is one step in a good dental health program and if one portion of that program is removed, we have to redouble our efforts to ensure other steps are more effective.’’

Calgary’s mayor, Naheed Nenshi, did not support removal but was out of town for the vote; he said this week through a spokesman that he was unlikely to re-open the issue.

Likewise, city councillor Druh Farrell, who spearheaded the city’s bid to remove fluoride, said cavities have increased across North America in both fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas.

“I think Alberta Health Services needs to look at other countries that have been very successful with this issue. They need to provide alternatives and start focusing on hygiene,” she said.

With the $750,000 saved by cutting fluoride, the city will purchase a mobile dental health unit to service people in disadvantaged communities, she added.

One of Calgary’s leading citizens behind the anti-fluoridation campaign, family doctor Robert C. Dickson, noted the Calgary dentists complaining about increased cavities are relying solely on anecdotal evidence.

“I guess, in a nutshell, it’s not safe, it’s not effective and it’s very unethical,” he said. Numerous studies support his position, he said; all of the major medical associations have sided in favour of fluoride because they’re “old boys clubs” unwilling to admit they’ve made a decades-long mistake.

He traces the campaign to fluoridate water to the Manhattan Project.

“Fluoride was a major component of manufacturing atomic weapons during the 1940s,” he said. The aftereffects of nuclear weapons manufacture — fluorine compounds — were causing animals and plants to fall ill, prompting a campaign to “whitewash fluoride,” by claiming it strengthened teeth. They then put it in the water supply, he said.

The more established history of fluoride begins at the turn of the century, when a dentist in Colorado found local children had mysterious dark stains on their teeth. Although unsightly, they found the teeth resisted decay.

The cause was eventually traced to naturally occurring fluoride; after several studies, scientists suggested a small dose would make the tooth enamel more resilient without causing the spots.

Grand Rapids, Mich., was the first to add fluoride to the water in the mid ’40s. The recommended dose was similar to what health agencies recommend cities add to the water today.

‘I think almost every disease that’s ever been a plague on our bodies, some subset of the anti-fluoridation group leaps on the bandwagon and say fluoride is causing it’

A 2010 guideline published by Health Canada suggested a maximum concentration of 1.5 mg/L. The report found no link between that level of fluoride and any adverse health effects, “including those related to cancer, immunotoxicity, reproductive/developmental toxicity, genotoxicity and/or neurotoxicity,” it reported. “It also does not support a link between fluoride exposure and intelligence quotient deficit, as there are significant concerns regarding the relevant studies, including quality, credibility, and methodological weaknesses.”

Numerous studies have found that children who have access to the ion record fewer cavities, although the disparity between fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities may be decreasing due to the use of fluoridated toothpastes, better hygiene and exposure through foods, said Allan Freeze, a groundwater scientist and retired University of British Columbia professor.

Mr. Freeze became fascinated by the fluoride debate about a decade ago, prompting him to write a book, The Fluoride Wars, in 2009.

“I wrote the book trying to be as objective as possible. I tried to lay out both sides,” he said. His conclusion was “fluoride did much more good than harm. It essentially stopped the epidemic of childhood and adult dental caries. There’s no question that dental caries and the number of cavities in kids went up and up and up until fluoride was introduced and then it went down and down and down to almost nothing.”

Mr. Freeze said the concerns about fluoride almost always mirror the prevailing health and political fears of the era.

“I think almost every disease that’s ever been a plague on our bodies, some subset of the anti-fluoridation group leaps on the bandwagon and say fluoride is causing it,” he said.

When it was first introduced, some anti-fluoride activists claimed it was a communist plot.

“They were worried about polio, then as cancer came on, it became about cancer. Then came AIDS,” he said, adding that the latest claims involve a link between fluoride and a depressed IQ. Whenever one connection is disproven, the movement focuses in on another. “Now I suppose the Taliban is putting it into the water supply.”

‘I guess, in a nutshell, it’s not safe, it’s not effective and it’s very unethical’

That’s not to say fluoride is harmless, Mr. Freeze added. At extremely high doses found naturally in some parts of the world, a lifetime of over-exposure can lead to major problems, including skeletal fluorosis, a crippling bone disease. However, the concentrations involved are many times higher than what Canadian and American municipalities put in their water. This disease, common to parts of China and India, is practically unheard of in developed nations, Mr. Freeze said.

In North America, the most common side effect of fluoride use is a slight cosmetic mottling of the teeth.

“Some of the more sophisticated ones will say we don’t need fluoride in the water any more because we have fluoride in the toothpaste and that’s enough. That has some merits,” he said. But when it comes to municipal water fluoridation, it’s local politics rather than science that tends to win the fight.

Longtime Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau’s anti-fluoride advocacy prevented the ion from ever being added to the water supply; a dental survey conducted in the late ’70s found children in Montreal had twice the number of cavities as those from nearby, fluoridated communities. Vancouver has always been free of fluoride.

Calgary’s recent decision is actually the latest round in political ping pong; plebiscites in 1956, 1961 and 1971 rejected fluoridation. Calgarians voted in favour in 1989, but the subject came under heated review and further votes regularly afterward.

Dr. Chow said the politics and the finances might make for a compelling case. But, he said, the savings are illusory.

“There’s not enough money saved to cover all the work we’re doing. It’s just so sad.”

Beck: Returning to fluoridation would put health at risk

By: Dr. James S. Beck, Calgary Herald, Calgary, Alberta 24-May-2013 – Re: “Ending fluoridation was a rotten idea,” Rob Breakenridge, Opinion, May 22.

The column by Rob Breakenridge on fluoridation is misleading on several points. Presumably the column is a reaction to the current flurry over the suggestion by two dentists that city council consider reintroducing fluoridation.

The decision to stop fluoridation was made after long consideration by members of council who had been in office for multiple terms. Twelve of the 15 members voted to stop fluoridation. Ald. Gord Lowe, a longtime supporter, voted to continue it. The remaining two who voted to continue, being new to the issue, had pleaded lack of knowledge and chose the status quo.

In his column, Breakenridge expresses puzzlement over what benefits council expected of its decision. I can’t speak for councillors, but from my experience with that process, I suggest that those who voted to stop fluoridation expected fewer adverse effects associated with swallowing fluoride and other products of hydrofluorosilicic acid (the industrial grade chemical that was used to fluoridate Calgary’s water). And I suppose they would expect the certainty that the residents of Calgary would have a significant control over their own medication, a control denied by fluoridation, and a matter of medical ethics and human rights.

Now council is urged by two Calgary dentists to reconsider. They claim that the prevalence of cavities in Calgary has increased since fluoridation was stopped. According to the dental officer of health of Alberta Health Services stationed in Calgary, there is no systematically gathered data on the prevalence of cavities since cessation of fluoridation. So we are left to weigh the purported findings or impressions of two dentists taken from their personal practices against the systematic collections of data from millions of patients. That more abundant and more systematically gathered data indicate no substantial prevention of cavities by fluoridated water and no increase in the incidence of cavities after stopping fluoridation, as determined by comparison of cities stopping it with cities continuing it.

There are dozens of such studies. They show either no difference with the control cities, or show improvement of dental health after stopping. I am referring to actual scientific research published in credible journals, not to endorsements by various societies and government departments.

In his column, Breakenridge refers to citation of evidence by Alberta Health Services that supports the notion that fluoridation prevents cavities. There is no study that shows such effectiveness. Admittedly, it is claimed by AHS that there are such studies, but examination of these cited studies reveals them to be uncertain or contrary to their findings. I have witnessed this in AHS presentations before several town and city councils, including the hearings of Calgary city council and committees.

The claim of safety is also erroneous. The most comprehensive evaluation of the scientific literature on possible adverse effects was done by a panel of 12 scientists for the National Research Council of the United States and reported in 2006. It found association of using water containing fluoride — water with various concentrations of fluoride, including concentrations comparable to those in fluoridated tap water — with several abnormalities.

Those abnormalities included thyroid disease, dental fluorosis and hip fracture, among others. And they found probable adverse effects not proven, but certainly indicating that further research is needed.

The degree of certainty of adverse effects depends on what groups within the population are considered. Groups more susceptible to particular effects include infants, diabetics, persons with kidney disease and the elderly. These groups constitute sizable fractions of a population of 1.3 million. The failure of fluoridation of tap water to control the dose a person gets, and the fact that fluoride is accumulated in several tissues throughout life in a fluoridated city, are also major problems.

Breakenridge cites the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its dated overstatement on fluoridation. But the CDC, as of 1999, along with the American Dental Association, agree with research that seems to show a slight benefit in preventing cavities from topical application of fluoride directly to the tooth enamel rather than from a systemic effect.

So why risk harms, some of which are certain to occur, when swallowing fluoride is essentially ineffective and there are alternative measures that do seem to prevent cavities such as a good diet and consistent dental hygiene?

James S. Beck, MD, PhD, is professor emeritus of medical biophysics at the University of Calgary and co-author of a 2010 book on fluoridation.



No to fluoride

COF-COF Girl Drinking Glass Of Water Mission Statement 300 x 300By: Dr. James S. Beck, Calgary Herald, Calgary, Alberta 24-May-2013 –  Re: “Dentists lament loss of fluoride in water,” May 17, “Ending fluoridation was a rotten idea,” Rob Breaken-ridge, Opinion, May 22, and “Dr. Druh?” Letter, May 23.

The Herald reports on comments of two pediatric dentists who think there has been a rise in incidence or severity of cavities in Calgary children since fluoridation was stopped. Such a limited sampling does not weigh heavily against the extensive systematic research on the consequences of stopping fluoridation in long-fluoridated cities.

There are many such studies involving tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of children. With perhaps one exception, all of these investigations have shown that, in comparison with control cities, the incidence of cavities have continued the same or have decreased in the cities that stopped fluoridation.

If the incidence of cavities is higher following stopping fluoridation, it is not necessarily because fluoridation was stopped. The same precaution applies to the decrease in cavities in 18 industrialized countries over four decades which occurred after fluoridation was introduced. In that case – a case of data from tens or hundreds of millions of patients – the decrease was the same in 14 countries not fluoridated as in four countries fluoridated.

The suggestion that there should be a plebiscite if the issue arises again in Calgary is not reasonable. Whichever result occurs, it amounts to asking our neighbours to decide whether we should take an unapproved drug at uncontrolled dose without our informed consent. That’s something that a physician or dentist cannot do.

Systematic studies have shown that fluoridation is not effective for low-income families. Or for high-income families, for that matter. Alternative measures such as better diet, better dental hygiene, and better access to professional dental care are likely effective and subject to personal choice.

Dr. James S. Beck, Calgary James S. Beck is a professor of medical biophysics at the University of Calgary.


Carleton Place to tackle fluoridation debate

Fluoridation-Cavities-Or-Fluorosis-Dental-Money-COF-COF-450-x-340By: Tara Gesner, EMC Smiths Falls, Carleton Place, Ontario 23-May-2013 – Carleton Place councillors will get the chance to learn more about both sides of the debate regarding fluoridation in drinking water.

The occasion will come June 4 at an information session – held upstairs at the town hall at the start of the regular Carleton Place council meeting at 7 p.m. Council finalized details for the gathering at the May 7 physical environment committee meeting, which was chaired by Coun. Jerry Flynn.

Parties for (Dr. Paula Stewart, medical officer of health at the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit) and against (Rob J. Fleming, president of Canadians Opposed to Fluoridation) will make a presentation and address questions from council members.

“Mr. Fleming is coming from Waterloo,” said Flynn. “I would hate to restrict the amount (of time) of his presentation, as well as the medical officer of health.”

The town’s chief administrative officer (CAO), Paul Knowles said he already received one request to register

to speak on the agenda item.

“I suggest we follow our normal procedure, which is the flexibility of the chair,” said deputy mayor Ed Sonnenburg.

“I want clarification,” said Antonakos. “This is very important. Is there a commitment from this council to allow comment on this particular item that evening?” “How many hours, or are you simply talking about a comment?” asked Sonnenburg.

“That is a separate question, deputy mayor,” stated Antonakos. “The time is one thing. The other is: Will we entertain questions from the gallery?” “It is up to the chair,” said Flynn. LeBlanc agreed with Sonnenburg that normal procedure be followed.

“However, I just want to remind everyone that the initial reason for having this was to educate council on both sides of the issue,” she added. “I think we need to make sure council members have ample opportunity to ask all the questions they have. Time permitting, we go to questions from the floor – as we normally do.”

According to Knowles, Carleton Place has fluoridated its water supply since 1962.

Portland fluoride: For the fourth time since 1956, Portland voters reject fluoridation

COF-COF Portland Oregon Votes No To Fluoridation 300 x 400By: Ryan Kost, The Oregonian, Portland, Oregon 21-May-2013 – Fluoride supporters, it appeared, had everything going for them. Five Portland city commissioners had voted to add fluoride to the city water supply. Health advocacy groups, and many of the city’s communities of color, lined up behind the cause. And proponents outraised opponents 3-to-1.

But none of that was enough. For the fourth time since 1956, Portlanders on Tuesday night rejected a plan to fluoridate city water, 60 percent to 40 percent.

“There’s a libertarian component to Oregon politics … a kind of opposition to what the establishment might want,” said Bill Lunch, a political science professor at Oregon State University. “Those who have more money, despite the kind of popular presumptions in this regard, don’t always win elections.”

The lesser-known of two issues on the Portland ballot passed easily. Voters approved a third renewal of the city’s Children’s Levy with more than 70 percent in favor. The levy directs more than $9 million a year to programs that support about 14,000 children annually in areas such as child abuse prevention, after-school activities and foster care.

The campaign to renew the levy, however, took a back seat to the fight over fluoride, which intensified in the weeks leading to Election Day.

In Portland, where a largely Democratic electorate often finds liberal candidates struggling to differentiate themselves, the fluoride debate created stark, and heated, divisions.

Both campaigns accused the other of stealing yard signs. A thinly veiled anti-fluoride push poll went out to voters. Opponents were described as insensitive to equity issues, while proponents were accused of wanting to willingly pollute the city’s famously pure water.

The issue also wound up politicizing a statewide health report that showed falling cavity and tooth decay rates in the state over the past five years. One of the report’s authors said she felt pressured by Upstream Health, the group spearheading fluoridation, to present the findings in a certain way.

More than $1 million was spent on the campaign, a considerable total for a Portland-only election. But Portland finds itself back where it has historically been, as the only city among the nation’s 30 most populous to not approve fluoridation.

Clean Water Portland, the group leading the opposition, was hesitant to claim victory, but it was clear an hour after the 8 p.m. ballot deadline that the measure didn’t have enough support.

Still, said Kelly Barnes, a spokeswoman for the group, “when you really get down to it, clean water is a universal issue.

“When citizens took a look at the information, they decided for themselves that the risk wasn’t worth it.”

Barnes wouldn’t discuss possible next steps, although the group has said it would like a ban on fluoride written into the city charter.

“I think we’re going to take a little rest and reevaluate where we are.”

The pro-fluoride group Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland conceded defeat early. “Disappointed” was the word of the night.

“The results are certainly disappointing, but I think they’re mostly disappointing because, at the end of the day, we were not able to provide this preventative measure” to people who need it, said Alejandro Queral, co-chair of the group’s steering committee. “The issue doesn’t go away at the end of the election.”

Dana Haynes, Mayor Charlie Hales’ spokesman, said Hales had no plans to come back at the issue but shared supporters’ frustration.

“The measure lost even with my own ‘yes’ vote,” the mayor said in a statement. “Disappointing, but I accept the will of the voters.”

Portland has been at odds with fluoridation for more than half a century.

In the 1950s, residents considered the question of fluoridation about the same time many of the nation’s other large metro areas were adopting the practice as a way of fighting tooth decay. Portland voters bucked the trend and rejected the proposal. They said no again in 1962.

It seemed Portlanders had come around to the idea in 1978 when they approved a fluoridation plan. But two years later, they reversed course and voted to scrap it.

Since then, fluoridation has remained a constant political issue, on par with mandatory gas station attendants, occasionally coming up at the Legislature but never finding any traction.

That changed in September when, after a year of pro-fluoride lobbying, the Portland City Council quickly approved a plan to add fluoride at 0.7 parts per million beginning in March 2014.

The decision affected not just Portland, but 19 other cities, including Gresham, Tigard and Tualatin, that contract with the city to buy water from the Bull Run Reservoir. All told, the fluoridated water would have reached 900,000 people.

Early estimates put the project at $5 million for startup costs and $575,000 annually after that.

Opponents, however, quickly moved to get fluoride on the ballot.

In the months leading to the election, Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland focused on making the issue about equity. The group pulled together support among communities of color and raised more than $800,000 in cash and in-kind contributions. The group sold fluoridation as a scientifically sound method for fighting what they called the state’s dental crisis, continuously noting that nearly three-fourths of Americans drink fluoridated water.

Despite its financial disadvantage, however, Clean Water Portland proved better at mobilizing an electorate wary of adding a chemical to one of the nation’s cleanest sources of drinking water. Signs calling for residents to reject “fluoridation chemicals” popped up on lawns across the city even as stories in the national media popped up, poking fun at the city’s resistance to a common practice.

“The simplicity of their message was certainly an advantage,” said Queral from Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland. “I think the opponents did a very good job of casting doubt on the science. I think they homed in on their message and they hammered away on it.”

Brewer’s ‘Daily Dose’ 22-May-2013

Proponents concede, no fluoride in Portland water

By: Staff, Portland, Oregon 22-May-2013

Proponents of fluoride conceded Tuesday evening after the measure was losing with close to 60 percent of voters opposing it.

After 129,663 ballots were counted in Multnomah County, and 160,769 ballots returned, any hope for fluoride passing was gone Tuesday night.

Turnout in Multnomah County was near 36 percent, which was high for an off-year election.

The Portland City Council voted for fluoridation last fall. But an anti-fluoride group collected enough signatures to put it to a vote. Votes in three previous elections have rejected it.

“We again are really excited about it. Our volunteers have really done a lot of work. We’re all grass roots,” said Kellie Barnes with Clean Water Portland after hearing the results.

“I think what happened was they had a much simpler message ‘no’… It’s very difficult to fight against a campaign that can fight or say anything they want,” said Alejandro Queral with Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland.

Phone canvassers on Monday were working at Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland — the pro-fluoride campaign. They also had people going door to door. Clean Water Portland, the anti-fluoride campaign, was also working the voters in the final hours, arguing fluoride is not healthy.

City Code specifies that a referendum measure should be placed on the ballot at the next biennial primary or general election unless public interest in a prompt resolution of the question outweighs the costs associated with a special election.

Brewer’s ‘Daily Dose’ 21-May-2013

Fact or fiction? Examining rumors about a statewide fluoride effort

By: Bob Heye,, Portland, Oregon 21-May-2013

The votes haven’t been counted yet, but there’s speculation that no matter what Portland voters decide on Tuesday night, Oregon’s biggest cities could still have their drinking water fluoridated.

A KATU viewer expressed concern about a rumor that language mandating fluoride in larger Oregon cities will be slipped into an already existing bill that would provide fluoride rinse to Oregon students. We decided to look into it to see if the rumor had any merit.

Pro-fluoride group Northwest Health Foundation spokesman Alejandro Queral said any speculation that the group is behind new plans is ridiculous.

“Does the rumor surprise me? No, I guess not. It’s been a very strange campaign with a lot of emotions behind it,” said Queral. “I think there’s been a lot of things that have been speculated that have been taken wing of their own when there’s really no substance behind it. It’s certainly not true.”

KATU checked with lawmakers on both sides of the fluoride issue on Tuesday and found no trace of any effort to amend House Bill 3082.

Rep. Mitch Greenlick, who favors fluoride in drinking water and sponsored the bill, said the bill’s title wouldn’t allow an amendment dealing with fluoride in city drinking water supplies. He said any amendment would have to focus on dental care for kids.

A similar effort at statewide fluoridation that eliminated a clause allowing cities to opt out of fluoridation failed in 2007.

Greenlick said he would love to add the fluoride amendment to House Bill 3082, but he said nothing like that can happen during this legislative session.

Fluoride advocates do say there’s a chance they may introduce statewide legislation during a later session.

“While we don’t discard that as a future possibility in future legislative sessions, our focus right now is on the Portland vote,” Queral said.

Brewer’s ‘Daily Dose’ 21-May-2013

Portland rejects fluoride but both sides may meet again

By: Steve Benham,, Portland, Oregon 21-May-2013

Fluoride advocates admitted defeat Tuesday night after unofficial election results showed Portlanders strongly against adding fluoride to the city’s drinking water.

But there were indications new battle lines may be drawn in the future.

“We will not rest until this passes,” said Alejandro Queral of the Northwest Health Foundation while conceding his pro-fluoride campaign, Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland, had failed to persuade voters to fluoridate.

Unofficial returns late Tuesday night showed voters rejecting fluoridation 60 percent to 40 percent.

Clean Water Portland, the group against adding fluoride to the water, was outgunned in both money and resources but was still able to pull off a victory in nonconformist Portland, the largest city in the United States not to add fluoride to the water to help prevent tooth decay.

“We are grateful for the people of Portland that stood up and researched this issue,” said Kim Kaminski with the campaign. “They don’t want fluoride. We don’t want more chemicals; our kids don’t need more chemicals.”

While she stopped short of declaring complete victory Tuesday night, she said she’s been contacted by people from nearby communities that have fluoride in the water and want to become fluoride free. And she suggested her group’s victory will spread beyond the Rose City.

“This is not just Portland. This is nationwide. We really want to acknowledge that what happened in Portland, what is happening here and now, is going to have nationwide and worldwide ramifications,” she said.

The campaign said it’ll set its sights on the Tualatin Valley Water District in Washington County, which does add fluoride to its water.

Tuesday night’s vote was the first time in 30 years that Portlanders voted on the issue. The last time was in 1980 when voters repealed a 1978 voter-approved decision to add fluoride to the water. Fluoride was never added to the water in the interim, however.

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.

Alberto Moreno, the executive director of the Oregon Latino Health Coalition and a staff member of Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland, said Tuesday night the reason fluoride fell flat with Portlanders was because “people did not understand the science.”

“We were trying to correct that narrative to make sure people understood the science, that this is safe, this is proven (and) millions of people do this every single day without side effects,” he said.

Moreno did acknowledge the campaign didn’t quite grasp the amount of what he called “confusion” among people about the science in support of fluoridation. He said his group should have been stronger with its message.

And he said the pro-fluoride forces will regroup to figure out what they’ll need to do next.

“We’ll continue to work for equity,” he said. “We’ll continue to find other mechanisms to make sure that the children have the dental care that they need.”

Both sides of the debate raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in the course of their campaigns, and the issue drew strong emotion and reaction from Portlanders, making it a hotly debated topic with both sides charging sign vandalism and theft.

And a last-minute controversy erupted last week after The Oregonian reported that Oregon Health Authority emails suggested a pro-fluoride group worked to pressure a state official to present a dental report to its advantage.

Mel Rader, co-director of Upstream Public Health, denied his group was trying to pressure Oregon’s oral health program manager Shanie Mason in any way.

Proponents of fluoridation say it will help prevent tooth decay, especially among low-income children. Opponents fear adding fluoride will erode the purity of Portland’s water by adding contaminants such as lead and arsenic. Additionally, many don’t like the idea of having fluoride forced upon them.

Elections officials expect turnout to top 40 percent in this election, which is higher than usual for special elections.

“We were still getting ballots from drop sites close to 8 p.m.,” said Eric Sample, a Multnomah County elections spokesman. That meant a “pretty darn long night” of vote counting that likely would stretch into Wednesday, he said.

Mayor Charlie Hales, a fluoridation supporter, didn’t wait for a final tally.

“The measure lost despite my own ‘yes’ vote. That’s sure disappointing, but I accept the will of the voters,” he said in a statement released shortly after the first totals were announced.—again-208411571.html

Brewer’s ‘Daily Dose’ 21-May-2013

Portland Voters Soundly Reject Fluoride

By: Aaron Mesh, WWEEK.COM, Portland, Oregon 21-May-2013

Fluoride is 0-for-4 in Portland.

Early returns in tonight’s special election show Measure 26-151—which would have required the fluoridation of Portland’s water supply—losing 61 percent to 39 percent.

The defeat marks the fourth time since 1956 that Portland voters have rejected fluoride, and keeps this the largest city in the United States with unfluoridated water. The anti-fluoridation forces wasted little time celebrating their win.

Tonight’s vote also means the end to a populist drama sparked by Portland City Council last summer, when then-Mayor Sam Adams and Commissioner Randy Leonard stealthily pushed the addition of fluoride to the Bull Run water supply, backed by a quiet campaign by a lobbying group called Upstream Public Health.

The revolt was instantaneous.

Fluoridation opponents packed City Hall and gathered more than 33,000 signatures to place the question on the May 2014 ballot. City Commissioners moved the vote up to this May—claiming they wanted to resolve the question quickly but raising even more suspicion among opponents, who believed they were trying to sneak the controversial chemical past voters.

That public distrust only deepened this spring when the Oregon Health Authority delayed release of its 2013 Smile Survey, a study of dental health, by three months—and the study showed cavities in Portland were down, even without fluoride in the water.

The pro-fluoride campaign, Healthy Kids Healthy Portland, raised more than twice the money of the anti-fluoridation campaign, Clean Water Portland. But as total fundraising topped $1 million, both sides endured money scrutiny.

As WW first reported, Healthy Kids Healthy Portland handed out $143,000 to seven minority groups who endorsed the pro-fluoride campaign.

WW also reported that almost half of Clean Water Portland’s money came from out-of-state donors—including Tea Party supporters in Kansas and Utah, and a controversial alternative physician outside Chicago.

Every major newspaper in the city—including WW—endorsed the measure. As polling suggested the pro-fluoride campaign failing, media outlets across the country marveled at liberal Portland bucking scientific consensus. But the coalition of skeptics—rooted in Portland’s organic ethos—grew more impassioned throughout the spring.