Portland Voters Reject Fluoridation, Again


Portland Voters Reject Fluoridation, Again
For the fourth time since 1956, residents of Portland, Oregon, have rejected a measure to add fluoride to the city’s water supply. This leaves Portland as the largest urban area in the U.S. without fluoridated water.

Discussion Ideas:

  • Portland is the largest city in the U.S. without fluoridated water.Why do students think most urban areas invest in fluoridating their water?
    • Most cities add minute amounts of fluoride to the community water supply as a public health policy. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control lists water fluoridation as one of the “Ten Great Public Health Achievements” of the last century. The American Dental Association says “water fluoridation is the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay.”
      • Fluoride, an ion of the element fluorine, occurs naturally in water and food. Fluoridation is the adjustment of the existing, naturally occurring fluoride levels in drinking water to the fluoride level recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service for the prevention of tooth decay (0.7 – 1.2 parts per million).
      • Most fluoride treatments are topical, meaning they interact directly with the saliva and other precious bodily fluids to reduce the rate of tooth decay. Toothpastes, mouthwashes, and dental flosses often contain fluoride. More intense fluoride treatments are also administered by dentists and other oral health professionals.
  • After reading the Oregonian article, why do students think Portland voters rejected the measure to fluoridate their water?
    • Those opposed to the measure rejected it for several reasons:
    • Voters worried about polluting Portland’s water supply. This opposition had several forms.
    • The initial $5 million start-up cost was considered expensive.
  • Look through our extensive guide to “Earth’s Freshwater.” Chapter four, “Water Quality in Freshwater Systems,” includes a very short section on “Drinking-Water Treatment” on page 84. Read those paragraphs, which explain why communities treat drinking water with chemical additives (including fluoride). Do students know how their drinking water is treated? Do they know if their water is fluoridated?

One thought on “Portland Voters Reject Fluoridation, Again

  1. The video above saying that drinking water with fluoride saves your teeth is pure propaganda. Look at what the CDC reports.
    For example, Florida is 77.7% fluoridated with 16.7% complete tooth loss,
    Illinois (98.9% with 19.1% tooth loss), Kentucky (99.8%, 23.7%), Maine (79.6%, 31.9%), New York (72.9%, 17.0%), West Virginia (91.7%, 37.8%), etc., etc.
    Compare those to Hawaii, which is only 8.4% fluoridated with only 9.6% complete tooth loss.  It shows just how INEFFECTIVE fluoridation is. 
    You can check the data for your state or any state at the following CDC site:

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