This Week in the Mercury


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Some People Like Fluoride?

Posted by Virginia Alvino on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Turn any corner in this city and you'll probably be bombarded with some form of anti-fluoride campaigning. From fully covered buildings downtown to protesters on the Hawthorne Bridge on-ramp, Portlanders have spoken.

But, from the shadows, emerges the PRO-fluoride campaign.

Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland held a press conference this morning at the Center for Intercultural Organizing. The CIO represents the underrepresented—a confluence of communities of color. Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland, meanwhile, is a potent lobbying group representing, among others, moms for fluoride and doctors and dentists.

Nicole Maher of the Northwest Health Foundation is a member of the Tlinget tribe, the daughter of a salmon fisherman, a mother of two, and pregnant. That pretty much covers all the bases.

Nicole Maher, second from the left, proposes water fluoridation in Portland
  • Virginia Alvino
  • Nicole Maher, second from the left, proposes water fluoridation in Portland.

Maher grew up in rural/water-fluoridated Alaska, didn't see a dentist until she was 14, and has never had a cavity. She advocates for water fluoridation because, despite her children's access to healthcare, they are already suffering from cavities.

The CDC, American Medical Association, and American Dental Association have all supported community water fluoridation.

The polls will show where the city ultimately stands on this issue, but one thing is for sure—one side's stories aren't being exposed so often. And that might just be because they believe this is a problem which has already been solved.

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