#5. Portland Rejects Water Fluoridation
The waning hours of Tuesday, May 21st saw many blue-clad Portlanders gleefully clapping and smiling. Why? Because they had just successfully voted to reject one of the ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th century: water fluoridation.
It was the fourth time the Pacific Northwest metropolis had rejected the measure, making it still the sole city among the nation's 30 most populous to not approve fluoridation.
Critics of the measure smeared it as nothing more than an insidious attempt to place a toxic pollutant in the water supply, arguing that it would lead to lowered IQs, thyroid dysfunction, and mottled teeth, among other frightening outcomes. But they couldn't have gotten the science more wrong.
Water fluoridation adds no more than 1 part per million to the drinking supply, a minute amount that has produced few if any adverse effects in people or to the environment for over six decades. But still, the addition of this tiny mineral can reduce rates of childhood cavities anywhere from twenty to fifty percent!
Apparently, Portlanders favor that more natural, toothless smile.
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)