Residents of Portland voted to reject adding fluoride to its city drinking water. The measure, which passed with overwhelming support, makes the city the largest in the country without a fluoridation plan, or plans to implement one.
The election brought out proponents from both side. Those in favor of the measure argued that adding fluoride to the city’s drinking water would help to prevent tooth decay, a position that is largely supported by scientists. Scientists have concluded it poses no health risk and does not affect the taste of the water in any way.
However, opponents of the measure came out in full support to vote down the bill. Their argument basically consisted of scaring voters into believing fluoride would poison anyone who consumes it. They also claimed the dental benefits were minimal, so it was not worth adding chemicals to the water. The tactics worked, however, as the measure was voted down by 60 percent of the vote, a landslide victory in today’s political age.
In the past, voters have taken up the same question on multiple occasions. In each instance, voters have chosen to prevent the fluoridation of water. The Portland City Council briefly voted to add the mineral to the city’s drinking water, but residents gathered enough signatures before the decision could go into effect. Although nearly all health organizations believe fluoride provides great benefit to residents, the issue still remains highly contentious in certain areas of the country, and the question is likely to pop up again on future ballots.