Archive for May, 2013

May 21, 2013 – Fluoride Action Network Press Release

Clean Water Portland

Portland, Oregon — A broad coalition of Portlanders have resoundingly rejected adding fluoridation chemicals to the city’s water supply.  By a 61%  to 39% margin, Portland voters agreed with the positon of most western nations that there are safer, more effective, and less intrusive ways to promote oral health than adding a chemical linked to thyroid disease, IQ loss, and other ailments to the water supply.

“We are proud of our Portland colleagues who used science and integrity to defeat fluoridation and the public relations blitzkrieg that backed it,” says Paul Connett, PhD, FAN’s Executive Director.

Portland’s clean water campaign was spearheaded by Clean Water Portland (CWP), a broad coalition formed in August 2012 after a newspaper revealed secret ongoing fluoridation meetings with Portland City Council members that were illegally kept off the record. With virtually no public input, the City Council mandated fluoridation for the city on September 12. CWP then led an unprecedented effort that gathered over 40,000 signatures in less than 30 days to halt the mandate and force the referendum vote.

Clean Water Portland – Photo by Mark Colman

Fluoride chemicals are the only chemicals added to public water for the purpose of medication. Most western countries, including the vast majority of Europe, do not fluoridate their water.

“Most of Portland’s media falsely reported that fluoridation promoters had science on their side and that opponents used emotion,” says Connett.

“Those opposed did their homework, relying on recent scientific findings from the National Research Council (NRC) and Harvard that raise serious questions about the safety of current fluoride exposures.”

In 2006, the NRC warned that current fluoride exposures in the US may increase the risk of thyroid disease, endocrine disruption, neurological disorders, and bone damage – particularly among people who have medical conditions that increase their vulnerability to fluoride.  The NRC called on scientists to investigate fluoride’s role in chronic disease, but government health authorities have opted against funding this research.

Photo by Mark Colman

Portland’s vote comes just six months after voters in Wichita, Kansas soundly rejected fluoridation by a 20% margin, and follows close on the heels of an announcement this April that Israel will be ending its mandatory fluoridation program. In Ireland, legislation was proposed this spring that would make it a criminal offense to add fluoride to public water supplies, and in Canada, the number of people drinking fluoridated water has dropped by about 25% since 2008.

“The 21st century does not take well to anachronistic medical practices, and fluoridation is no exception.  This is why more than 120 communities have rejected fluoridation over the past 3 years alone,” says FAN’s Campaign Director, Stuart Cooper. “The trend is towards less fluoridation, not more.”

Photo by Mark Colman

In Portland, opposition to fluoridation included the regional Sierra Club, the Portland branch of the NAACP, Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality employees union, and more than 200 local medical professionals. National leaders also weighed in, including Ralph Nader, Lois Gibbs, John Stauber, Food and Water Watch, Organic Consumers Association, and esteemed scientists Drs. Theo Colborn, William Hirzy and two members of the NRC’s review.

cliff_walkerThe breadth of the coalition was reflected in polling data showing bipartisan opposition to fluoridation among democrats, republicans, and independents alike, and overwhelming opposition among communities of color.

Voters who rejected fluoridation were concerned by research showing low-income communities to be at highest risk of fluoride’s adverse effects with virtualy no offsetting benefit. This fact was not lost on Portland’s low-income neighborhoods, which voted overwhelmingly against fluoridation.

Fluoridation proponents had a massive war chest, raising almost $1 million. They used their nearly 4-to-1 funding advantage and media clout to flood Portland with misleading ads and editorials touting fluoridation as an urgently needed tool for solving the “dental crisis” in the city’s poor neighborhoods.

But there really wasn’t a dental crisis in Portland as the Oregon Department of Health’s own reports indicate. Fluoridationists tried to hide this inconvenient truth, pressuring state officials to not publicize new Smile Survey data showing Portland children’s decay rates have improved without fluoridation and, in fact, are better than most fluoridated cites.

“Fluoridationists had no evidence that any Portland child was fluoride-deficient; but did prove that some Portland children are dentist-deficient.  We urge the legalization of dental therapists in Oregon who will treat the low-income children who dentists refuse to treat,” says Connett.

Source: Altoona Mirror

TYRONE – Tyrone Borough residents will no longer have fluoride in their water, beginning later this spring.

Council voted 6-2 in a meeting last week to direct the Water Department to begin removing hydrofluorosilicic acid and its associated chemicals.

Concerns about fluoride have been raised recently, including from Water Department Superintendent Ardean Latchford, who said he’d been approached by several borough officials and concerned residents regarding fluoride.

Councilman Mark Kosoglow said he’d watched a documentary revealing fluoride to be a poison and wanted to see it removed from the water supply.

Mayor William Fink also said he’d spoken to some area professionals, including a funeral home director, and learned about the dangers of fluoride.

Council Vice President Christy Ray and councilwoman Courtney Rhoades voted against the motion, saying they wanted time to speak to a dentist before passing it.

“I hope your teeth fall out,” joked Ray to council members.

Interim Borough Manager Phyllis Garhart must post a 30-day notice informing borough residents, and then the fluoride removal can begin, Latchford said.

Tyrone Council is not the first local governing body to reject fluoride; the Altoona City Authority voted in 2007 to do the same, citing concerns about potentially negative health effects and a philosophical opposition to “mass medicating” the population.

Altoona Family Dentistry’s Dr. Katherine Dangler said despite what people may read on the Internet, fluoridated water is a good thing and she’s seen no scientific studies to prove otherwise.

Dangler said she also practiced in Bellefonte and State College, where the water is fluoridated, and said children in Altoona have more cavities because there is no fluoride to harden and strengthen tooth enamel.

While some opponents claim children will still be able to get fluoride from toothpaste or mouthwash, Dangler said, it isn’t going to be enough if it’s not in the water.

If fluoride is as dangerous as its critics believe, dentists and doctors wouldn’t back it, she said.

Latchford said Fink provided him with studies on fluoride, which noted that infants and young children are at risk for fluorosis, a medical condition resulting from overexposure to fluoride at a young age. The American Dental Association said fluorosis has mostly cosmetic effects usually resulting in white stains or streaks on the teeth.

The studies also showed that in children 8 and younger, whose teeth still are developing, high fluoride intake can pit tooth enamel.

Mothers may be mixing tap water with baby formula, Latchford said, unaware that they’re doing something wrong.

“If we take it out” they won’t have to worry, he said.

But Dangler said anything can be dangerous in excess, which is why it’s a dentist’s job to monitor patients and see what products are being used in the home. Not having more fluoride is more costly and has more negative consequences, she said.

Latchford said while he has no vested interest in the outcome, the fewer chemicals he has to add to the borough’s drinking supply, the better it will taste.

And while Latchford said saving money is not the reason for removing fluoride and its associated chemicals, it will result in $5,000 annual savings to the borough or roughly 91 cents per person.

Mirror Staff Writer Kelly Cernetich is at 946-7520.