PORTLAND -- The Sierra Club is opposing a ballot measure to add fluoride to Portland's drinking water.
A spokeswoman for the Oregon chapter of the nation's largest environmental organization said Wednesday that fluoridation would "degrade some of the purest drinking water in the world."
The Portland City Council last year unanimously approved a plan to add fluoride. Until the vote, Portland was the largest city in the U.S. yet to approve water fluoridation to combat tooth decay.
Opponents, however, quickly gathered more than 30,000 signatures to force a referendum that's set for May 21.
“Kids are already bombarded with multiple toxins from plastics, pesticides and air pollution,” Sierra’s Columbia Group spokesperson Antonia Giedwoyn said. “Adding fluorosilicic acid, a byproduct of the phosphate fertilizer industry, to Portland’s water would be a profound disservice to or children."
Dental experts say fluoride is effective in fighting cavities.
Opponents of public fluoridation say it's unsafe and violates an individual's right to consent to medication.