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Readers' letters: Want fluoride? Use toothpaste with it

While the Portland City Club panel is recommending a pro-fluoride vote, there are many reasons to keep this substance out of our water supply:

1. Forty percent of American teens have visible signs of fluoride overexposure (fluorosis).

2. Fluoridation disproportionately harms low-income populations, which are more susceptible to fluoride toxicity than affluent ones.

3. Per the Federal Drug Administration, fluoride added to a water supply is a drug because it is meant to treat or prevent a disease (tooth decay). It is the only drug administered not requiring a medical professional’s prescription, with no dosage regulation and not allowing for informed consent on the part of the recipient.

4. Any benefits from fluoride are from topical application, not ingestion (Centers for Disease Control). This is an established fact. Also, fluoride ingested has a systemic impact; it doesn’t single out the teeth. Many ill effects are strongly correlated with fluoride ingestion.

5. For infants, fluoride provides no benefits, only risks.

6. There is no demonstrable difference in dental health among countries that fluoridate their water and those that don’t.

7. Most developed countries do not fluoridate their water.

8. Citizens in surrounding communities who get their water from the Portland supply have no say in this matter. Families and individuals can easily choose to use toothpaste with fluoride.

Tom Sparks

Northeast Portland

Forced fluoridation impinges on freedom

From the folks who brought us mercury (amalgam) fillings, unnecessary amounts of X-rays and who foisted antibiotics before dental procedures, thus adding to overuse, comes the scientifically outdated desire to medicate (dope) the water supply with a semi-dangerous chemical — available for 50 years or so in most toothpaste and many mouthwashes (probably, in itself, an unnecessary product) because the empty suits “know what’s best” for the rest of us.

Vote “no” on fluoridation of Portland’s water supply because:

1. There is a substantial cost to taxpayers.

2. It is difficult to assess results (because of dispersal of populations, etc.).

3. There are potential dangerous side effects to unmonitored children and adults.

4. It sets the precedent that public health concerns override constitutional safeguards on individual freedoms.

5. It sets the dangerous precedent that the government has the right to medicate citizens en masse, a step toward fascistic social control.

Alan Stone

Northeast Portland

Burkholder’s ideology clouds facts

In response to the opinion published by former (thankfully) Metro Council member Rex Burkholder (Housing without parking helps city thrive, April 4), his lack of historical knowledge may be forgiven, perhaps, due to the fact that he’s a relatively recent transplant and apparently is blinded by his overpowering egocentrism.

He states as “fact” that “traditional” Portland neighborhoods weren’t designed around the car; rather, they were built around walking and streetcars. Wrong.

Not only did cars not exist at the time, neither did streetcars. Early Portland was designed around the horse. Streetcars came considerably later and largely as a function of developers’ desire to entice people to move to far-flung areas such as the new Multnomah Village and Ladd’s Addition. They weren’t built with taxpayer dollars, either — a fundamental fact that a long-time politician like Burkholder understandably fails to grasp.

As is often the case with such politicians, Burkholder chooses to characterize those who disagree with his grand vision of a return to the glory of the 19th century as a “vocal minority,” when in fact, they simply advocate for preserving neighborhood livability.

Whenever a politician resorts to such tactics, it’s because they fear that others may see through his egocentric vision. By demonizing them from the outset, he hopes to marginalize them.And it’s even more distasteful when he wraps himself in the cloak of a respected governor to peddle his ideology.

Jay Haight

Southwest Portland