Tualatin Valley decided fluoride long ago

Todd Heidgerken of the Tualatin Valley Water District, May 20, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)
Todd Heidgerken of the Tualatin Valley Water District, May 20, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)

TUALATIN, Ore. (KOIN) — Activists on both sides of Portland’s fluoridation issue are working to sway last-minute votes before the 8 p.m. Tuesday deadline. But residents in Washington County settled this issue decades ago.

In the Tualatin Valley Water District, nine out of 10 customers have been drinking fluoridated water since the 1960s. Tualatin Valley serves 58,000 customers in Beaverton, Tigard and Hillsboro.

The Tualatin Valley Water District serves Beaverton, Hillsboro and Tigard, May 20, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)
The Tualatin Valley Water District serves Beaverton, Hillsboro and Tigard, May 20, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)

The water district doesn’t keep track of the effect of fluoridation on public health, but spokesperson Todd Heidgerken told KOIN 6 News 75% of their customers approve of the fluoridated water.

“At least based on customer attitude surveys, it seems that customers overall were supportive of that decision,” he said, “although I’ll point out that we do get folks on both sides.”

Beaverton resident Lynell Magill is fine with the fluoride.

“Well, since I can’t taste it and haven’t tasted it all these years, I don’t see any negatives,” she said. “It hasn’t bothered me. My children have great teeth, also.”

“Portland has a very environmentally conscious population, so I know it will be an issue to a lot of people if they do anything unnatural to the water in any way,” Magill said. “But, I don’t see it as a big issue. I think there’s a lot worse things to worry about.”

The parts of Beaverton not served by Tualatin Valley started fluoridating their water in 2004, and it was as contentious then as it is now in Portland.

“It generated a lot of interest at that time,” Heidgerken said, “so it’s not a big surprise that it’s generating a lot of interest now relative to what’s taking place in Portland.”

Ballots on the issue are due Tuesday evening. At this writing, about 26% of the ballots have been returned in Multnomah County.

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