“Keep Portland Weird!”
The t-shirts and bumper stickers are everywhere. And, after spending a few days out here, I have to say…they are doing a good job of it.
But I suspect they are creating new shirts and posters as I type…ones that say “Keep Portland Fluoride-Free!”
For a large community, Portland is unusual — and not just because it’s weird. Portlanders have never fluoridated their water supply. But that may soon change.
According to a campaign called “Everyone Deserves Healthy Teeth,” the entire state of Oregon has a dental health crisis. The campaign claims that the only way out of the crisis is fluoridation of the water supply. Especially for Portland.
Here’s my message to Portland: “Don’t go there.”
Neurotoxin on tap
Imagine if elected officials in your town decided to put FDA-approved drugs in your water. They would round up doctors and health experts who would give the plan a stamp of approval. Then your tap would flow with health-giving drugs.
Completely absurd, right? You can’t precisely control the tap water dose. And some would experience adverse effects. It’s an insane idea. If it weren’t insane, they’d be doing it right now.
But in a sense, they are. This is exactly the situation with fluoride. And for some reason, this insanity continues to this day.
Fluoride isn’t a drug, of course. In fact, it’s a natural mineral. But the fluoride they put in water is really a by-product of the fertilizer industry.
They also tell you there’s no downside. They say there are no side effects.
And that is a lie.
Excess fluoride causes dental fluorosis. Fluorosis is discoloration of teeth. In the worst cases, it causes teeth to pit and crumble. Even the CDC admits that about 40 percent of U.S. children have some level of dental fluorosis.
Portland? Are you picking up the full irony here? Four in 10 kids have a dental problem linked to this “dental health” chemical.
But that’s not the worst of it. Animal studies show that fluoride may be a neurotoxin. So a team from Harvard University investigated possible neurotoxic effects on children.
Researchers examined 27 studies that compared cognitive function in children to fluoride exposure. Result: “Children in high fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ scores than those who lived in low fluoride areas.”
Now, if I were pro-fluoride, I would point out that this study is a meta-analysis. So take it with a grain of salt. It’s also a single study. So it needs to be verified by further research.
Fine. But if you’re a Portland parent, do you really want your child’s brain to be included in this experiment?
There are several techniques that promote dental health. But only fluoride is potentially dangerous. If you want it, you can get plenty of it in toothpaste, mouthwash, and fluoridated bottled water. You don’t have to subject an entire city to this dubious chemical treatment.
Hold your ground, Portland. Stay weird — and fluoride-free!
“Developmental Fluoride Neurotoxicity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” Environmental Health Perspectives, Published online ahead of print 7/20/12, niehs.nih.gov