If you drove near the south side of the Burnside Bridge at rush hour yesterday, you may have seen our President and CEO Mike Alexander, our Public Affairs Coordinator Midge Purcell, and our Community Organizer Jerome Brooks rallying in support of ballot measure 26-151 to fluoridate Portland’s water supply. They were happy to be out on the streets, reminding passersby to vote in this important election. Portland is the largest U.S. city that has not adopted water fluoridation, and because of this we suffer more dental decay, higher costs and fewer opportunities. The Urban League recognizes the severity of the dental crisis in Portland, and we know that lower income children and children of color suffer even more– with three times the rampant decay as higher income kids. Lower income children miss twelve times more school days due to dental disease than children from higher-income families, and the Urban League believes that fluoridation is an effective and efficient ways to diminish this problem.
For every $1 invested in water fluoridation, communities experience an average of $38 in reduced dental costs. In Portland, fluoridation will save at least $20 million in dental care, dollars that we can invest in better access to dental and overall health care and nutrition. Portlanders, including the African American community, will have a lifetime of reduced decay and better health for less than a $1 a year per person. The Urban League supports a YES! vote on Measure 26-151 on May 21st!