News May 22, 2013 at 4:00 am

Portland Keeps It Weird as Fluoridation Fails for the Fourth Time

Ashley Anderson


I'm curious to know why it is Clean Water Portland and many, many Portlanders that makes these type of accusations, yet no one in the media seems to do the same?

"Opponents accused them of manufacturing a crisis, and colluding with state workers to withhold the study."
I bet 100/1 hardly anyone from the Merc or other papers or the pro side bothered to take time to see where & who fluoridation chemicals came from. How about Mosaic. A company whose CEO just received a 22% bonus & supports GMO's. Or how about Simplot, a supplier for Salem. They're working on GMO potatoes because Monsanto failed to do so. They have been fined in the PNW & Oregon for pollution. And then we have Univar. A corp that proudly gets & distributes toxic chemicals to Dow, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, and so many other big-pharma & big agri-biz corps.

Guess "justice" and "equity" means land and community destroying phosphate mining & lining CEO's pockets so they can grow GMO's and pollute towns & cities at the same time. That's where fluoridation chemicals come from and I'm glad Portland can now get to working on solutions that are based on real advocacy & real solutions, instead of gagging on Simplots toxic scrote.
This is so typical of the irrationality rampant in the media recently. You mix together your vehement, anti-corporate, blind distrust with a practical measure designed to help people. You are the new ultra-conservative zealot, blinded by ideology, immune to information and progress. You despise religious right wingers for their ideology? I despite them for their irrationality. You are just as bad.

Pathetic level of debate and attitude in this election. Should I move from Portland? Yes, I will (for other reasons, but this makes is easier). and before you say good-- and at risk of immodesty: it's not good that people who care, are open-minded, want to do the right thing, look you in the eye when you talk, and are liberal are moving far away happily, from zealots like you.
The Politics of Fear have won the day again, against reason.
You betray your ignorance by making such statements. Your name-calling and accusations also reveal a cynicism usually indicative of narrow-minded right-wingers. Do not charge your fellow Liberals (also very well educated and discerning consumers of information--read: we know how to read scientific, peer-reviewed primary sources of information) as your inferiors. Doing so does not reflect well on your claim to legitimacy. And I'll gladly jab anyone in the eye who tries to say I'm not a Liberal!
It's unbelievable that The Mercury can't bring themselves to eat some crow and deliver a neutral review of the results. Somehow you have to find a way to continue to insinuate NO-voters are uneducated whack-a-doodles who rely on "junk science" and conspiracy to form their opinions. Oh and the never ending accusation that opposition voters don't care about the children, yet if that were the case then why the hell did the Children's Levy pass so overwhelmingly...could it be that anti-fluoride voters were in support of that?

Let alone the failure to praise the amazing grass-root efforts made by CWP, where we actually saw people from opposite sides of the political spectrum come together and shatter the stalemate divide plaguing our society today. There's indeed an important lesson to be learned here.

And for you to pretend that you didn't benefit financially from your PRO stance is insulting as well. Aside from the accusations of bribery and the like, the money you made off of site-visit advertising had to set some records for your marketing department. Crafting pieces obviously written to stir up the emotions, thus resulting in 400+ comment threads....cha-ching!

As for Steve Novick, what's really "sad" is what has already become of him. I've never witnessed a faster sell-out of a political official and I'll forever regret volunteering for his Senatorial campaign. It's just creepy how quickly he's slipped into Randy Leonard's (fore)skin and has taken on his bravado attitude. I guess that will happen when the political elite of this city basically hand you a Commissioner's seat. The hilarity in it all is he has yet to be given any real responsibilities from the mayor, but he's sure as hell wasting no time sending all the wrong signals. Yes, another round for Steve...his eyes aren't quite swollen shut yet!

So boo-fucking-hoo-hoo you pseudo-progressives. I guess The Mercury staff will just have to continue to take the suppository approach to ensure your fluoride intake. Just be careful not to stick the toothpaste tube too deep, it can get slippery.
The "counterculture" is a cancer on the Left.
("we know how to read scientific, peer-reviewed primary sources of information as your inferiors") I'm happy you can read. But more relevatnt in this issue, do you also have an idea about the concept of "level of evidence"? e.g. an observational study of a different population, subject to very different exposures (flouride and non-flouride) than are suggested for Portland's water fluoridation, which then reports a lower IQ (a parameter of uncertain validity) or different thyroid function or stained teeth in those exposed to flouride... and the anti-flouride movement LAPS IT UP because it confirms their pre-existing opinion?

The point: it's NOT been a scientific debate in any way-- see the comment from your mixed flavor amigo above and from numerous other merc posts, radio shows, TV interviews, etc over the past 2 weeks.

The vote was an advancement of an emotional anti-authority, anti-government, pro-"purity" argument, and unashamedly so. It's a little too late to suggest science supports your claims of harm of proposed water fluoridation. (Many of your cronies don't care and have said as much.) So with this campaign, you clearly HAVE joined the ranks of the idealogues, and are NO different than the religious right in that way. Welcome to the bliss of ignorance.
Wrong, Spoolo. All the inflammatory remarks came from people who tried to position themselves as the "rational" party. Here's the thing, (expletive here): Is putting fluoride in the water the only solution? No! Is it the best of many other solutions? No! And don't try to pigeon-hole me. Not for a second. Your blind acceptance of the claims made by the ADA and AMA do not impress me. These organizations aren't immune to corruptive influence or being wrong. (And don't try and call me a conspiracy nut either!) Major corporations have enjoyed a long tradition of installing people in high places like the FDA and the EPA, etc. If Monsanto creates it and the FDA approves it, that makes it all right? By your logic, yes. I am not your right-winger, Spoolo. Now come on over for that jab in the eye.
Okay then. I realize that after a couple of beers (maybe three or four) my statements were somewhat less than elegant. Mea culpa. But here the thing that needs pointing out to my “fellow lefties” on the pro-fluoride parade:

You are making egregious errors in your misunderstanding, mischaracterization, and dismissal of other lefties.

The way that you have tried to paint us as idiots and/or lunatics and/or conservative sheep is not a responsible tactic; certainly not one employed by “true Liberals.” Lefties have an advantage over right-wingers in that we actually listen and give consideration to other perspectives. On this, you have failed. While it may be true that the anti-fluoridation camp may be diverse (respect diversity?) and also consist of some narrow-mindedness, there are a substantial number of us who are very well educated and understand the complexities of the situation well. We are not “global-warming-denying-flat-earth-all-government-is-bad” people. Your attempt to paint us this way is, well, a familiar tactic of people who can’t really defend their position (often employed by right-wingers, who also often have a difficult time with reason).

Your “fellow lefties” have presented a number of arguments that suggest the course that you propose is not wise, and your response has been akin to “Why do you hate poor people?!” and “Well, the doctors and the government say it’s okay” and “Hey, everybody’s doin’ it.” Not exactly convincing.

And so you resort to name-calling and the erroneous and onerous assertion that we are blindly following a misinformation conspiracy-theory campaign. This reveals that you clearly have not been listening. And, indeed, such an approach suggests that, conversely, it is you who have been doing so! (As you put your metaphorical fingers in your ears and yell louder than we with your fallacious arguments.)

What happened to people who used to question when corporate polluters and their lobbyists pushed legislation that makes it possible to do their worst to the environment? What happened to those of you who understood that the Western (and Global North) approach to treating the medical (societal) symptoms rather than the disease model is unsustainable? What happened to the inquisitive minds that put claims of authority to the test (e.g. those Harvard economists whose “research” advanced global austerity measures, which was published without peer review and whose conclusions were debunked when flaws in their methodology were exposed)? Do you not wash your veggies to clean off chemicals that we are told are “safe?”

There is so much you do not accept at face value. But this?! Please, try again.

“The disappointed one speaks. I searched for great human beings; I always found only the apes of their ideals.” #39 Maxims & Arrows
This vote just proves this town is run by a bunch of stupid, well-to-do white people. Ok, lets not do what every other major city has done and which actually works, all so we can remain "weird."

I find it ironic that a city and state that claims to be helping children by shielding them from so-called harmful chemicals like flouride and vaccines, has the highest rates of autism in the nation. Not to mention the worst teeth outside of the deep south.
Lets not forget the main and really only reason why every major city has flouridated their water. That is to help the less fortunate, those who can't afford or who have probably never been to a dentist, from losing their teeth.

I would argue that it's a lot easier for the well-to-do to take flouride out of their water than it is for the less fortunate to add it to it. Not everyone in this city comes from a white, upper middle-class background, even though it sure feels that way most of the time.
Honestly, maxims and the rest of the No vote can go on and on trying to prove how smart you are and post your fancy quotes and blah blah blah. The same can also be said for the Pro vote. It won't change the fact that logic and reason are NOT on your side. The fact that this has become such a heated debate is shocking to me. I grew up in a city that flouridated, so I know the benefits of it.

There only two questions that should be asked; Is it safe? Yes. Does it work? Yes.

Kind of a no brainer, but the far left want to turn it into a bigger issue than it needs to be. And for the record, I'm about as far left as they come. I believe in socialism and hope to see firearms of all kinds completely banned. But on this issue, I have to go with my experience and all logical reasoning which tells me flouride in the water is nothing to fear.
Score one for modern science, score one for reason, and score one for taking bullies to task. Thank you Portland for not being swayed by fallacious, lazy journalism and junk corporate science from forty years ago.
Yeah, thank you Portland for ignoring people with master degrees in toxicology; water purification. These people obviously know nothing about fluoride.

I wish all you tourist fucks would leave Portland already.
Proud to be stupid. But hey, now we can talk more about how Portland is different from other places, and isn't that what really matters?
Medicaid (Oregon Health Plan) exists to provide free medical coverage for every Oregon child whose family's income is under 201% of the federal poverty level. With this program you can visit a dentist and get fluoride treatments all you want without it costing you anything more than signing up for the program for your children.

All poor children in Oregon already have the option to get this treatment if they want it. The money spent on this campaign and that would have been spent on fluoridating the water should instead be spent on educating those with the OHP benefits that these options are still available for their children IF THEY CHOOSE TO USE THEM. Don't forget choice, people.
I also grew up with fluoridated water, Gza1340, and it did nothing for me. So did my partner. Same. Her son grew up in Portland and has NO cavities! He's an adult now. Your argument doesn't hold water. Speaking of, water isn't the problem. Don't dump more chemicals into it. The problem is that poor kids eat and drink shit (candy and Coke) because it's cheap and they are misinformed about healthy foods. They also don't receive good dental hygiene education or service. Those things need to change. Clean water did not give them cavities (didn't give me mine!) and they are not likely to drink as much water as soda (hello obesity/diabetes problem?). And fluoridated water did not prevent my cavities. So your logic is bullshit. Go back to where you came from and get all the fluoride you want. Put it in your water, on your toast, whatever. But don't put it in mine. And fuck right off.
"With this program you can visit a dentist and get fluoride treatments all you want without it costing you anything more than signing up for the program for your children."

This shows total ignorance of the barriers to receiving Medicaid dental care, as well as the principles of something called *prevention*. NE, don't forgot your failure to understand what real lives are about. Do you have REAL any suggestions (alternatives to fluoridation) that would safely and effectively cut down costly, painful dental procedures down the line for a large proportion of kids? No, Medicaid is not the answer. And no, I didn't think so.
"Her son grew up in Portland and has NO cavities! He's an adult now. Your argument doesn't hold water. " then you say someone else's logic is bullshit?

Here's a secret: anecdote is not the same as evidence, kiddo. And you can't use one example (ok ok, two examples-- including YOUR PARTNER..WTF??) to prove anything about a large-scale public health issue.

"fuck right off"??

whatever dude, you're a perfect example of a turd that ruins this place. Take your own advice.
The Portland Mercury either totally dropped the ball looking at the truth of the matter, or the despite all the edgy, artsy, "alternative" dressing is just as corporate sell-out snake of a paper. At least with the Oregonian you know what you're getting.

It's really too bad all of the name calling of people unwilling to have a rational respectful dialogue. All your hateful ignorant name calling means nothing.
If you really had a good case for fluoridation you wouldn't need to mock and demonize with no basis.

A landslide number of Portland voters get it. I hope the rest of Portland gets it eventually soon enough. There are much better ways to deal with dental health than dumping the toxic by-product of the fertilizer industry into the Bull Run water.
Hey, sagging flint. I was responding to anecdote with anecdote. So, perhaps you have the same advice for Gza1340. Also, the moniker "Kiddo" is cute and diminutive. So, using it on me is as well. And as far as "the turd that ruins this place" goes: I suppose the expression, "I know you are, but what am I?" has currency with you. (Tourist.)
And by the way--as far as what "ruins this place"--I'd put my money on trendy tourists like you, who ride over here because everybody says it's a cool place; but you get here and say crap like "the food isn't like New York's" and "the pizza isn't like Chicago's" and so on. Yeah, this isn't Chicago, New York, Milwaukee, Phoenix, or wherever you came from with your superior culture and fluoridation. 'We want fluoride in the water because that's how they do it in civilized places' you all scream and shout. 'That's normal!' Why did you move here? Because it's 'cool' here? So, why do you constantly complain about how we do it here while trying desperately to change Portland into one of your culturally superior cities that fit the norm so well? Oh, yeah, because you're tourists on the let's-go-to-Portland-where-all-the-cool-kids-go road trip. But then you say to yourselves, 'This isn't like home. Portland should be more like where I lived.' Well, sagging flint, that does merit a "fuck right off."
Maxims sounds like one of those tourist fucks.
"deemed safe and effective by all reputable public health agencies."

This is the breadth and depth of this paper's and condescending fuck D.C. Theriault's discussion of and citation of authority for the position that fluoride is magically delicious and anyone who opposes it is fearful, ignorant, racist, hateful, and anti-science. In fact, there is a lot of nuance to the issue, as both sides should understand. If the winner of a Nobel prize in medicine (Arvid Carlsson) can find that fluoridation of public water supplies unethical as a violation of pharmacological principles, then the fluoridians ought to be able to accept that this measure's defeat means that they have not made their case effectively, and that reasonable people still disagree that fluoridation of public water supplies is the right thing to do. Persisting in the fantasy that 61% of the electorate is composed of fearful crazy people, and continuing to rant against them after such a decisive result will not be good for the mental health or credibility of fluoride cheerleaders. Time to dial it back and reflect on why you lost.
Actually, styrofoamcup, we've said fluoride has no taste. So it can't be magically delicious.

And here's some evidence that, though the paper formally fluoride only after it was placed on the ballot, the Mercury has written long before this particular debate about dental health and the woeful lack of access in young and old alike.……
Hey chicostix, you realize Portland citizens have voted down fluoride four times now since the 1950's, right? I have lived in Portland my entire life. It seems to me that rejecting the risks and corporate interest's involved in water fluoridation is a unequally Portland quality, so who's really the tourist here? How long have you lived in Portland?
So even though Oregon's dental health numbers have all improved over the last five years as demonstrated in the draft version of the new Oregon Smile Survey, the one that the OHA delayed for political purposes, and despite the fact that Portland's dental health numbers are far better than the national average, Denis is right. The woeful lack of access to dental health care is the reason for poor dental health, especially in low-income families, not fluoridation.
Hey, chicostix, perhaps you ought to take note on your position here and reflect on this: "Conformity is suicide. Nice job. Nice house. Nice life. Nice death. Conformity is the elimination of variables. The absence of choices." Hmmmmm?

Maybe you should return home; then you can return to your values.
Denis-Still haven't seen any attempt to evaluate contrasting studies on the effectiveness of fluoridation worldwide and argue for them based on that, or to discuss the pharmacological issues around fluoridation. The argument, boiled down, is still: People's teeth are bad; we believe the people who say fluoridation of the water supply is the best way to fix it and that there are no significant negatives; anyone who doesn't agree with us is an asshole.
"I'd put my money on trendy tourists like you, who ride over here because everybody says it's a cool place"

Nope, came here for (gasp) a job. I would request you not make assumptions without knowing, or demonstrating a good grasp of, the facts-- but that motherfuckin ship has sailed. Also, what do you have against people who move somewhere for a better life? So the fuck what? Are you "original"? You're a tool who attacks character without knowing anything. And it's clear that your nerve has been struck on this site, and you're having a little tantrum.

So get back to your anecdotes, kiddo. You're a babbling idealogue who needs to drink one less beer before you type. And if you want to be taken seriously, don't rely on ad hominem attacks and anecdote-based logical fallacies. You have plenty of company in the US- disinterested in information and full of opinion.
Man, look at that photo above. Stupid fucking white people. Yay we won. Too bad corporate America has you fucked no matter what. Where do you think those veggies and granola you buy from New Seasons comes from. Probably more chemicals on that shit than in the water.

I supported the fluoride measure because it's actually designed to help the majority of people, especially the less fortunate as opposed to a select few. It doesn't matter where you come from. That just makes sense.
So if it weren't for your job, you wouldn't be here? You need a different job.
Okay. I'm done. I apologize. It struck me that I have sunk (as many of us have) to a level of discourse that simply fosters resentment. I'm sorry. I lament that I'm having these kinds of arguments and saying nasty things to people with whom I probably share many commonalities, people I'd likely get along with quite well, famously. There's really no point to it and it saddens me. We all agree that there is a problem. We just disagree on the proper solution. Since those who voted have decided that fluoridation of the public drinking water is not a viable course of action, we need to come together and explore the alternatives and find our way toward a solution.

So, I hope you'll accept my apology and put the bitterness behind us.

The bottom line is that the pro-fluoridation forces simply did not have the facts on their side. And their tactics were despicable.

They played fast and loose with the truth and with our democratic process: mischaracterizing studies (including last year's Harvard meta-analysis and the National Academy of Sciences' 2006 both cases, the authors' own statements refuted what proponents were claiming researchers concluded);

exaggerating the scope and degree of the "dental health crisis" (to the point of conspiring to delay public disclosure of evidence contradicting their claims until after the vote);

employing technically accurate but misleading language in their rhetoric (e.g. "There is no evidence that fluoridation at optimum levels causes any harm", when, in practice, there is no way to ensure an "optimum" dose given individual variations and multiple other sources of exposure in the environment);

exploiting "poor kids" to stir up liberal guilt in favor of fluoridation (nevermind that decades of data from dozens of fluoridated cities show significant INCREASES in dental decay among lower-income children since fluoridation, and that the general consensus of researchers is that the REAL crisis is lack of access to basic, routine dental care...something every lower-income child in Portland already has through OHP);

and attempting an end-run around the public will and Portland's democratic process (conducting back-room deals with the City Council, virtually skipping the phases of scientific review and public input, and manipulating the timing of the petition period and election in ways they thought would work to their advantage).

NOW, they add insult to injury by slandering their victorious opponents as elitists with no concern for "equity" and/or simpletons driven by "fear" and incapable of comprehending the "complexity" of their arguments.

To top it all off, they insist "the fight isn't over", suggesting they have so little respect for the will of the majority (and a significant majority at that) that their plan is to just keep at it until they manage to cram fluoridation down our collective throats by any means necessary.

I will close with the words of Philippe Grandjean (senior author of the 2012 Harvard study) and Anna Choi (lead author of the study):

“Fluoride seems to fit in with lead, mercury, and other poisons that cause chemical brain drain. The effect of each toxicant may seem small, but the combined damage on a population scale can be serious, especially because the brain power of the next generation is crucial to all of us.” Grandjean

"These results do not allow us to make any judgment regarding possible
levels of risk at levels of exposure typical for water fluoridation in the U.S.
On the other hand, neither can it be concluded that no risk is present. We therefore recommend further research to clarify what role fluoride exposure levels
may play in possible adverse effects on brain development, so that future
risk assessments can properly take into regard this possible hazard."
Choi and Grandjean
Well put, Maxims. No doubt there is a huge problem out there. Bigger than flouride. Like I said before, it is shocking to me that something as trivial as flouride could garner such a heated debate. Clearly it goes much deeper than just that. As much as it infuriates me, it's also what I love about this city. Happy to live somewhere where people actually question the powers that be.

I guess the lack of diversity in Portland is the one thing that gets to me. It really just feels like well-to-do white people making decisions for well-to-do white people. I suppose there are worse things in life. At least many of the big decisions that get made here are made with the majority of people in mind.
"With the nation watching, Portland rejects fluoride for the fourth time."

What a stupid, biased title. Yes, I'm sure the nation was riveted. How about this title instead:

"With the whole world (most of whom do not fluoridate) watching, Portland votes consistent with the majority - again."
What part of increases lead levels in children from silicofluorides do the pro-fluoride people continue to not understand/accept?…
Not safe, and the science SAYS so. Lies repeated long enough are still lies.
A punch to the mouth is right! THWACK! Take that Portland Mercury for publishing that pro-fluoridation article last week. How much did the FDA and Monsanto pay you guys off to publish it? VICTORY for Clean Water Portland and the rest of us truthers. 1956, 1962, 1980, and now 2013. YAY!
"I still haven't seen any attempt to evaluate contrasting studies on the effectiveness of fluoridation worldwide".

Styrofoam, does it really make sense to ask a weekly free paper to evaluate thousands of complex scientific studies done over decades? What is the Merc's research budget I wonder. I would think you'd need a whole government agency with lots of qualified scientists (maybe it could be called the Center for Disease Control and Prevention), but yeah I forgot that any idiot can just read a one or two science studies and suddenly be an expert on anything. Not sure why anyone bothers to get fancy degrees and certifications anyway, probably just to conform to corporate culture and stroke off The Man. How DARE the Merc reporters trust the national health authorities! I AM SHOCKED!!

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