Healthwatch on 09/10/12

Air date: 
Mon, 09/10/2012 - 11:00am - 12:00pm
Short Description: 
The Portland Fluoride Debate--an hour-long special

 On the eve of Portland City Council's vote to fluoridate the water supply, the issue has divided Portland's residents.  Is fluoride effective?  Is it safe?  Is there a significant difference between naturally occurring fluoride and the form that is used in tap water?   Is putting fluoride in the water the best way to promote its application?  Should we be putting medications, however effective and safe, in the public water supply?  Today's guests,  Kylie Menagh-Johnson (Everyone Deserves Healthy Teeth Coalition) and Dr. Paul Connett (Fluoride Action Network), are here to answer these questions from both sides of the fluoride divide.

Kylie Menagh-Johnson earned a Master's degree in Public Health from Portland State in 2001 and has worked on numerous public health issues that affect dental health, including tobacco cessation (smokefree bars & restaurants, tobacco-free schools, smokefree apartments) and nutrition (getting junk food and soda out of schools). She is the spokesperson for the Everyone Deserves Healthy Teeth Coalition, a coalition of health, education, social justice and community groups advocating water fluoridation in Portland.

Dr. Paul Connett is the director of the Fluoride Action Network and its parent body, the American Environmental Health Studies Project.  He is the author of the book, The Case Against Fluoride: How Hazardous Waste Ended Up In Our Drinking Water and the Bad Science and Powerful Politics That Keep It There,  and is a retired professor of environmental chemistry and toxicology at St. Lawrence University.



 Thanks for tuning into the fluoride debate "wg."  Several people have mentioned, like you, that they felt like Kylie received more air-time than Dr. Connett.  So I went back and listened to the program and got this approximate breakdown of time for our guests:

Dr. Connett:  19.5 minutes

Kylie Menagh-Johnson:  16 minutes

Invited pro-fluoride phone guest: 5 minutes

Invited anti-fluoride phone guest: 1.75 minutes

Random anti-fluoride caller: 40 seconds

Randon pro-fluoride caller: 1.5 minutes

I unfortunately due to time constraints and due to a desire to keep the time-share relatively equitable I needed to interrupt Dr. Connett multiple times which probably gave the impression, a false one, that he didn't have as much time to speak.


Dr. David Naimon




 thanks for your kind words

 thanks for your kind words "bexg."  You are right that the right to consent is a significant part of this debate and I wish the hour had evolved as I had hoped and we had been able to dedicate more than the few minutes at the beginning and the 5 minutes at the end to this issue, to really go into the clash between individual rights and government/public health agendas, as well as further discuss the controversy around the city council deciding this instead of the voters, without consulting the various suburbs affected, and with the majority of yes-voters not up for reelection, so shielded from accountability for this decision.   fortunately,  KBOO has done at least 3-4 other shows on fluoride from various angles and has at least one other planned, so I'm sure it is being discussed even if you didn't hear it today.  


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