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May 15th, 2013 WW Editorial Staff | Letters to the Editor
 

Inbox: Politics and Fluoride

     
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An anti-fluoride ad that appeared in the May 8, 2013, edition of your paper mentions my name and House Bill 3162, which I co-sponsored. I’m writing to clarify that this legislation does not include fluoride, and that I support fluoridated water.

I introduced HB 3162—the “Toxics Disclosure for Healthy Kids Act”—to safeguard our kids from toxic chemicals. I’ve been working with environmental and health professionals for 18 months to craft legislation to require large manufacturers to report if any of the 19 “high-priority chemicals of concern” are used in their children’s products, and to phase out the chemicals over five years. 

These chemicals are identified through a rigorous scientific review by Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality and Washington’s Department of Ecology. Fluoride is not one of those 19 toxic chemicals, and there is no detectable difference in the amount of any of these chemicals in non-fluoridated and fluoridated water.

As a Portlander, mother, legislator and longtime public-health advocate, I believe that fluoridating drinking water in the amount recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a safe and highly cost-effective public-health measure. I agree with the boards of every major newspaper (including Willamette Week), the governor, Portland City Council, Multnomah County Commission, Portland City Club, and more than 80 community groups that water fluoridation would bring tremendous benefits to our region.

I have devoted my career to promoting social justice and a healthy environment in which all children can thrive. While I strongly support water fluoridation, I hope to continue working with people on both sides of this issue to protect the environment and close the enormous health disparities in our community.

Alissa Keny-Guyer, Master of Public Health
State representative, House District 46


EDITOR’S NOTE

Last week, WW reported on a 2012 study by Harvard-based researchers that asserted high exposure of fluoride in drinking water in China correlates with lower IQ scores among children [“You Can’t Handle the Tooth,” May 8, 2013].

The original study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, said 27 previous studies in China showed an average half-point decrease in IQ scores. The study looked at various kinds of IQ testing in areas with fluoride levels three to 10 times higher than planned for Portland. In September 2012, after criticism about the weaknesses in the study and its conclusions, the authors clarified their results, claiming the difference in standardized tests would equate to seven points lower in U.S.-based IQ tests. WW should have noted the authors had clarified their  study.

As WW reported, the study remains questionable in its relevance to the city’s debate over Measure 26-151 on the May 21 ballot. “Fluoride released into the ground water in China in some cases greatly exceeded levels that are typical in the U.S.,” the authors wrote in clarifying their findings, adding, “These results do not allow us to make any judgment regarding possible levels of risk at levels of exposure typical for water fluoridation in the U.S. On the other hand, neither can it be concluded that no risk is present.”


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR must include the author’s street address and phone number for verification. Letters must be 250 or fewer words.
Submit to: 2220 NW Quimby St., Portland, OR 97210.
Fax: (503) 243-1115. Email: mzusman@wweek.com

 
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