Truth Decay

American communities have been fluoridating their water for 60 years, and 70% of the country’s population currently lives in places where the water is fluoridated. But Portland, Oregon, where I live, is not one of those places. In fact, Portland is the largest U.S. city without fluoridated water! We’re about to vote on whether to start doing it — and the issue is not as clear-cut as you might think. Many Portlanders are against it.

I am one of them.

And why am I against fluoridated water?

Because I don’t know what I’m talking about.

This problem has gone on long enough. Too many people let the fact that their ideas are unsound prevent them from voicing them. Too many people use their ignorance and lack of critical-thinking skills as an excuse for cowardice. “Oh, I don’t want to speak out against fluoridating the water because all my reasons for opposing it are based on superstition, paranoia, faulty reasoning, or inaccurate data!”

Not me. I will not be bullied into silence simply because what I’m saying is nonsense.

I oppose fluoridation because it is too risky. More than two-thirds of the country already does it, and it’s been going on for more than half a century, and doctors and scientists have actual data showing that it helps improve oral health in the communities that have it.

In other words, the jury is still out.

What if the health risks of adding a microscopic amount of fluoride to drinking water don’t manifest themselves until the SECOND half-century of doing it? What if the only people able to recognize the damage it does aren’t doctors and scientists but conspiracy theorists and people on Facebook?

Even if fluoridated water is OK in general — which I’m not convinced it is, because I refuse to be convinced by true things that are supported by facts — that doesn’t mean it’s right for Portland. What if there is something unique about Portlanders that would cause us to react adversely to doing what the Centers for Disease Control recommends all people do? Is fluoridated water safe for people whose blood is mostly artisanal beer, or people who have recently come into contact with vinyl records, or people who are obsessed with bicycles? What if composting your garbage AND drinking fluoridated water, in combination, is deadly?

It could be, for all I know! I’m not a doctor!

Did you know that fluoride is a CHEMICAL? Chemical, chemical, chemical! Sounds scary, doesn’t it? Our drinking water already naturally contains chemicals, including fluoride, and now they want to put MORE chemicals in, just because these chemicals will make us healthier?? No thank you! I refuse to allow chemicals into my body. That’s why I don’t smoke, drink, take medicine, eat food I bought at a supermarket, or breathe air from the sky.

The pro-fluoridation people (who are all in the pocket of Big Fluoride) like to mention the organizations and government bodies that support fluoridation: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the American Dental Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency, the American Public Health Association, and countless others.

But they ignore the notable people on the anti-fluoridation side. For example, we have a dentist. An actual dentist! Who knows more about teeth than a dentist? The entire American Dental Association? What kind of sense does that make?

We’ve also got a doctor, a veterinarian, another veterinarian, the chair of the Portland NAACP’s Veterans Committee, a former EPA scientist, a former city commissioner, the Oregon Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, a lawyer, the Portland Green Party, assorted crackpots, General Ripper in “Dr. Strangelove,” Ralph Nader, and Jenny McCarthy!

Fluoridated water is simply too dangerous. There’s no way of knowing what it will do to our bodies, other than the decades of experience and reams of scientific data. Apart from all that evidence — which demonstrates that fluoridated water is a simple, inexpensive method of improving a community’s overall dental health even in areas where people have access to fluoride toothpaste — we don’t know.

Are you willing to risk your health based on the so-called “findings” and “verifiable data” of medical and scientific professionals, plus the millions and millions of people who have spent their entire lives drinking fluoridated water without ill effects and with fewer cavities? I know I’m not. Not when there’s a video on YouTube of a lawyer repeating scurrilous and misleading half-truths!

Why would I take the word of the vast majority of doctors and scientists when a minuscule, discredited fringe is also saying words? That’s not fair. That’s not America. In America, we give all opinions equal weight, including uninformed ones.

Especially uninformed ones.

My fellow anti-fluoridation people and I are delivering hard truths to Portland. These truths may not be popular, or relevant, or factually correct, or true, but we are saying them. We’re saying them over and over, to anyone who will listen, and also to people who will not listen. And why won’t they listen? Because what we’re telling them is false.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have fliers to distribute and wild-eyed rants to make. These fears aren’t going to monger themselves.


[ The fluoride measure was voted down. The crazies won. This is why we can’t have nice things.