The fluoride dilemma

What’s in the water supply? Well, in Portland, not Fluoride.

Vancouver’s neighbor to the south would do well to create a Bureau of Dental Hygiene post for The Crest® Gel Crest® Team, the redundantly named “super heroes” from the 1980s who battled the feared Cavity Creeps. At least that would be less controversial, and less strange, than what’s currently happening in the name of tooth health.

Portland remains embroiled in the ongoing saga of whether to add fluoride into its municipal water supply. As the largest city in the country that doesn’t put fluoride to its water, city commissioners there voted to add it a couple months back. That didn’t go well with an organization called Clean Water Portland (and others), and they vowed to collect signatures to place a referendum on the ballot.

By yesterday, all the signatures were counted and Portland will have a referendum measure on the May 2014 ballot. The whole situation raises the question: Is fluoride added to local water supplies, and do people care?

Vancouver: Yup, Vancouver is one of the old guards when it comes to fluoride. The city has been adding fluoride to its water supply since the 1960s, back when some thought it was tantamount to a Commie conspiracy (to control our “precious bodily fluids,” as one great military mind put it*).

La Center: The city doesn’t have its own municipal water supply. Instead, the city contracts with Clark Public Utilities for its water. “To my recollection I’m almost 100% sure no fluoride is added,” La Center Mayor Jim Irish wrote in an email. “The water quality analysis results where they test their system for each area and report the analysis, doesn’t show that it is a fluoridated system and it come from good deep wells.”

Ridgefield: The city that keeps on growing says its water supply is also free of fluoride.

Camas/Washougal: The two cities have independent water rights, but they both receive their supplies from the Troutdale Formation aquifer. Neither city adds fluoride to the water supply.

Battle Ground: If you don’t like fluoride, then you probably shouldn’t live in Battle Ground. According to the city’s 2011 Water Quality Report, fluoride “is added to promote dental health.”

So what do you think? Would adding fluoride be a politically risky move in unincorporated Clark County?

** In a movie.

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