Another fluoride fight!
Today's edition of my local paper, The Corvallis Gazette-Times, features two stories (above the fold) under the banner 'Philomath's Fluoride Fight '. One (not online) dealt with the current vote (we vote by mail only in Oregon) in Philomath (fil-LOW-meth), a small city (c. 5,000) just west of Corvallis; the other story detailed the fundraising success of the pro-fluoride forces. There is also a third story about a fluoride forum.
In a nutshell: until very recently, Philomath had added fluoride to its municipal drinking water, but the City Council decided to end that 30-year practice. Now it's up to the voters.
An aside here: on 31 December 2010 I posted about a book, The Fluoride Wars: How a Modest Public Health Measure Became America's Longest Running Political Melodrama. Todd Jarvis told me about this book, which he featured on his blog even before I did.
The authors of the book are R. Allan Freeze, one of the outstanding hydrogeologists of our time, and Jay H. Lehr, a friend and former Executive Director of the National Ground Water Association and current Science Director for The Heartland Institute. I think it's safe to assume that Lehr is not an advocate of big government/government intrusion into our personal lives.
Anyway, the book is a good read.
Back to the G-T article. It has a llot of interesting factoids:
64.3: Percentage of Americans receiving fluoridated water
72.4: Percentage of Americans on public water systems with fluoride
27.4: Percentage of Oregonians on public water systems with fluoride
48: Oregon’s rank among states for percentage of residents on public water systems with fluoride
3.1 million: Oregonians on a public water system
831,224: Oregonians on a fluoridated public water system
39: Number of fluoridated public water systems in Oregon
Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oregon Health Authority
Interestingly enough, the following Oregon cities are some of the ones that do not add fluoride: Portland (largest such city in the USA not to do so), Eugene, Medford, Klamath Falls, Grants Pass, Pendleton, Ashland, Newport, and Lincoln City.Some who do: Corvallis, Salem, Albany and Beaverton, and the Tualatin Valley Water District (200,000 people).
Do I believe in fluoridation? All I know is that I grew up with a water supply that was not fluoridated until I was in my early teens. I have the proverbial 'mouthful of silver' and 'fond' memories of those heinous belt-driven drills. My former sister-in-law, ten years my junior, grew up entirely on fluoridated water and has nary a cavity. I know - crappy sample size (although The Lancet might take it).
As Yogi would say, it ain't over till it's over.
Note added on 22 March 2012: Voters approved the addition of fluoride. Read about it here.
“Vodka, that’s what they drink . . . on no account will a Commie ever drink water, and not without good reason . . . Have you never wondered why I drink only distilled water, or rainwater, and only pure-grain alcohol? Have you ever heard of a thing called fluoridation of water? Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face?” - General Jack D. Ripper, from Dr. Strangelove