The Portland City Council approved a plan Wednesday to add fluoride to the city's water supply in order to fight tooth decay.
Mayor Sam Adams and the rest of the city council voted 5-0 in favor of fluoridation. Adams said he can assure Portland voters that "science is behind fluoridation."
City Commissioner Nick Fish echoed Adams' support of the plan, saying fluoride will "benefit all of our kids, regardless of race and income."
The vote on Wednesday morning capped weeks of intense debate over the issue. Supporters of the plan described Oregon as being in a "dental health crisis" and they said water fluoridation is the easiest way to reverse it.
But those against fluoridation argued it can negatively impact a person's health.
Regina LaRocca, a Portland resident, wants fluoridation to be an issue decided by voters, not the city council.
"We have 30 days to gather 30,000 signatures to get the referendum on the ballot for 2013," LaRocca said. "Water affects every living thing in this city. It's not an issue that five people should be deciding. It's an issue that the public should be deciding."
Last month, Roger Burt from Oregon Citizens for Safe Drinking Water said evidence shows fluoride is "a developmental neurotoxin."
Adams said he extensively researched both sides before reaching a conclusion.
"The convincing claims are on the fluoridation side," he said, just before approving the plan.
In a letter Adams wrote last week, he said fluoride in drinking water reduces cavities by at least 25 percent.
Every large city in the U.S. has already adopted fluoridation.
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