Saturday, April 20, 2013

Fluoridation of water in Portland, OR? Really?

Portland, Oregon will soon vote to fluoridate its water. This in a city that prides itself on having the cleanest, best-tasting water of any major city in the United States; a city where the cleanliness and purity of the water has led directly to a boom in silicon chip manufacturing, beer brewing and drinking fountain usage. For some reason, a large and powerful political coalition has latched onto this issue and is pushing it forward, despite the controversy this is creating in our community.

Quite some time ago, I blogged about the dangers of fluoride in toothpaste; I'll leave the technical arguments for that post for the most part, though I will add one new point of information that has come to light since then: fluoridated municipal water supplies cause fluoridated wastewater to be released into rivers and other waterways, which can impact the health of fish and other aquatic species.

Basically, I feel like this is sort of a Bush vs. Gore moment for Portland, in many ways. Portland is the largest remaining U.S. city to not fluoridate its water; for many of us, this is a sort of pride. If you want fluoride, go buy just about any brand of toothpaste and brush your teeth. Even if you can't afford dental insurance, this will provide your teeth with all the fluoride they "need" to stay healthy (though, please see the previous post for questions about to what degree this need even exists). If you don't think this is the case, then also go ahead and purchase some fluoridated mouthwash; this will provide more than enough fluoridation to protect your dental well-being.

But please, don't force the rest of us to have fluoridated beer, fluoridated lemonade, fluoridated kombucha -- and fluoridated local fish!