While the debate over fluoridating Portland's water continues, a similar public discussion in Scappoose appears to be over for now: Scappoose voters on Tuesday approved a ballot measure that would continue fluoridating the city's water supply.
Voters approved Ballot Measure 5-231 by a margin of 60.6 percent to 39.4 percent, according to Columbia County elections officials, who said that the results are unofficial until certified.
"It is a big win for the people of Scappoose and for those working to keep this important health measure," said Raquel Buornhonesque, co-chair of Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland, the "yes" vote on fluoridating Portland's water. "It demonstrates that, even in the face of so much misinformation, people can see how important water fluoridation is for kids and families."
Scappoose, population 6,600, has fluoridated its municipal water supply since 2000. Former City Councilor Judie Ingham began questioning the practice during council sessions last year, worried about possible health risks.
"Everywhere you use water, you're ingesting fluoride, a lot more than the American Dental Association recommends to prevent cavities in children," Ingham says. "You're forcing people to ingest fluoride. I say, why not let people decide?"
(The American Dental Association has endorsed community water fluoridation at 0.7 to 1.2 parts per million, the levels recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service. Measure 5-231 fluoridates at 0.7 parts per million.)
The council held a public meeting on September 4, 2012, hearing from community members representing both sides of the issue. Ultimately, the council decided to hold a special election.
The election cost approximately $3,000, according to city manager Jon Hanken.