Next month, the citizens of Portland will vote on whether they want fluoride added to their water or not – a referendum effort launched last year after the city council voted unanimously for fluoridation. The ballot measure is opposed by Sierra Club and other environmental groups. According to Portland TV station KATU,
The groups contend that adding fluoride to water would harm people and aquatic life, and outweigh any benefits to dental health.
“Sierra Club opposes fluoridation because it would degrade some of the purest drinking water in the world,” said Antonia Giedwoyn, a spokeswoman for the local chapter of the Sierra Club, the nation’s largest environmental organization. “Kids are already bombarded with multiple toxins from plastics, pesticides and air pollution.”
It is also opposed by the International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine. As a past president and current board member of the organization, Dr. Glaros shares some of his thought points on fluoridation of public water supplies:
- Is it ethical to mandate pharmaceutical products on a city, taking away its citizens’ free choice? Is Big Brother wanting to take care of you because you can’t figure out how to add fluoride to your own water if you really want it in there? The pro-fluoride position that individuals can take the fluoride out of their water if they choose is preposterous. Fluoridation is forced medication without representation.
- If it were ethical, is it a good idea? Do the potential benefits exceed the possible risks? The only possible benefit is that fluoride may offer a reduction of tooth decay, although this is a point still under debate and far from universally accepted.
- It is my understanding that the EPA, ADA and AMA all support fluoridated public water supplies. How is this an acceptable position when those same organizations – along with the National Academies of Science and the American Academy of Pediatrics – all agree that the amount of fluoride a baby receives from formula made with fluoridated tap exceeds the amount known to cause harm? Who is being protected here?
• Fluoride has been shown to increase the risk of hip fractures 20 to 40%. Studies show that it also increases the risk of heart disease and the risk of bone fracture in young men. (1)
• Sodium fluoride has been linked to bone pain, back stiffness, osteoporosis, bone fractures, immune deficiency, and cancer. (2)
• Sodium fluoride can accumulate in a child’s developing brain and reduce IQ and contribute to behavioral disorders. (3)
- Our Environmental Protection Agency has taken some interesting (some would say outrageous) actions against their own – including a senior science advisor who spoke up against the EPA’s fudging one of their own studies to obscure its finding fluoride to be a probable human carcinogen. Meantime, Health and Human Services has advised that fluoridation levels be cut back sharply for the sake of children’s health.
- The benefits are questionable and quite modest compared to the risks associated. A relatively safe dose for every user of public water in Portland is called for, yet impossible. Just because a practice is common does not make it ethical or reasonable.
This May, writes Oregon activist Carla Hanson, “Portlanders will be asked to decide for most Metro-area citizens whether or not to put fluorosilicic acid in our Bull Run water supply.”
Pro-fluoride messaging experts know that if Portlanders open the door ever so slightly to the reality that there are esteemed scientists and academic study supporting the anti-fluoridation position, the truths therein will not only cast reasonable doubt on their panacea, but expose it as potentially harmful to many of our neighbors, as well as the environment.
ANY compound that is powerful enough to have a desired effect on a part of the body may well have corresponding negative effects which must be weighed and considered. Usually this is assessed by a doctor and pharmacist. This May, the pro-fluoride forces are asking Portland voters to make that medical decision for our neighbors.
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This vote is not about some perfunctory rubber-stamp of a no-brainer position. The pro-fluoride campaign is asking Portland voters to make an extremely serious commitment to sacrifice a portion of our population and potentially damage the environment for intended benefits that could instead be achieved through better alternatives targeted at those most in need.
Measure 26-151 will be on Portland’s May 21 ballot.
(1) Modern Foods: The Sabotage of Earth’s Food Supply
(2) Whole Food Pharmacy Wellness Center
(3) The Fluoride Debate: A Response to the ADA’s Booklet, “Fluoride Facts”