Northeast Portland

Fact or fiction? Examining rumors about a statewide fluoride effort

Fact or fiction? Examining rumors about a statewide fluoride effort »Play Video
Photo courtesy Flickr user gabriel_rocha (Creative Commons).

PORTLAND, Ore. – The votes haven't been counted yet, but there’s speculation that no matter what Portland voters decide on Tuesday night, Oregon’s biggest cities could still have their drinking water fluoridated.

A KATU viewer expressed concern about a rumor that language mandating fluoride in larger Oregon cities will be slipped into an already existing bill that would provide fluoride rinse to Oregon students. We decided to look into it to see if the rumor had any merit.

Pro-fluoride group Northwest Health Foundation spokesman Alejandro Queral said any speculation that the group is behind new plans is ridiculous.

“Does the rumor surprise me? No, I guess not. It’s been a very strange campaign with a lot of emotions behind it,” said Queral. “I think there’s been a lot of things that have been speculated that have been taken wing of their own when there’s really no substance behind it. It’s certainly not true.”

KATU checked with lawmakers on both sides of the fluoride issue on Tuesday and found no trace of any effort to amend House Bill 3082.

Rep. Mitch Greenlick, who favors fluoride in drinking water and sponsored the bill, said the bill’s title wouldn’t allow an amendment dealing with fluoride in city drinking water supplies. He said any amendment would have to focus on dental care for kids.

A similar effort at statewide fluoridation that eliminated a clause allowing cities to opt out of fluoridation failed in 2007.

Greenlick said he would love to add the fluoride amendment to House Bill 3082, but he said nothing like that can happen during this legislative session.

Fluoride advocates do say there’s a chance they may introduce statewide legislation during a later session.

"While we don't discard that as a future possibility in future legislative sessions, our focus right now is on the Portland vote," Queral said.


We heard about this story from a KATU news tip. If you have a story you’d like us to look into, send an email to newstips@katu.com.