February 12th, 2013 4:16 pm | Michael Munkvold News | Posted In: City Hall, Health, Multnomah County, PDX News

Anti-Fluoride Activist Yolanda Whyte to Address City Council

UPDATE: No, she won't

yolanda.jpg copyDr. Yolanda Whyte is coming to Portland.
UPDATE, 6:10 pm: Whyte has cancelled her testimony. Though Whyte is in Portland, she has "other time commitments" tomorrow, according to Kimberly Kaminski, Executive Director of Clean Water Portland.

Whyte is scheduled to speak at 7 pm tonight at Portland State University, and at 7 pm tomorrow at Emmanuel Temple.

ORIGINAL POST: Controversial anti-fluoride activist Dr. Yolanda Whyte is scheduled to address Portland City Council tomorrow morning to give medical testimony on Portland's fluoridation ballot measure.

She brings with her an ongoing debate about the safety and effectiveness of fluoride, as well as questions about her credentials.

Whyte, a pediatrician from Atlanta, Georgia, has given several speeches characterizing fluoride as a health risk to children, African-American and Hispanic communities, and people with diabetes and kidney disease. She also appears in a video sponsored by the Fluoride Action Network in which she claims that fluoride can cause tissue damage and poses serious health hazards when mixed with baby formula.

While her supporters laud her as an expert on fluoride's effects on children and communities of color, critics such as the medical-watchdog website Quackwatch say that her "views on fluoridation reflect extreme ignorance," and question whether she is board-certified. (Database searches of the American Board of Medical Specialties and the National Medical Association did not yield her name, while the American Academy of Pediatrics does not list her as a member.)

Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland, the "yes" campaign on fluoridation, has posted a point-by-point rebuttal video on their website.

"Most, if not all, of what Dr. Whyte has asserted has been shown to be untrue or misleading by respected scientific studies and reviews," says Evyn Mitchell, campaign manager for Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland.

Whyte's supporters say that fluoridation proponents are trying to discredit her in order to silence a dissenting voice.
"The pro-fluoride people are known for smear tactics, and they lash out at anyone who disagrees with them by calling them crazy," says Kimberly Kaminski, Executive Director of Clean Water Portland, the anti-fluoridation group that is hosting her appearance. "There are a lot of professionals who disagree with fluoridation, but are afraid to speak out because of what happened to her."

Whyte's spokesperson asked for a list of interview questions for this story, but has not yet responded.
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