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PORTLAND - Just a couple weeks before voters decide whether to add fluoride to Portland's water, dozens of medical professionals gathered at City Hall Thursday to voice their opposition.

Earlier this month, the debate drew a huge crowd to a Northeast Portland community center.

As a mother and as a PT, I would like to point out that these fluoridation chemicals are not minerals, they're not even pharmaceutical grade fluoride, physical therapist Kellie Barnes said.

Fluoridation advocates say they favor the measure, citing children s dental health.

The money spent fluoridating Portland's water supply will not help kids who need dental care the most and would be much better spent on preventive programs in under-served areas, dentist Dr. Jay Levy said. The CDC has stated its benefit comes from brushing it on the teeth or rinsing it, not swallowing.

Dr. Willam Maas, an adviser for the PewChildren's Dental campaign and former director at the division of oral health at the CDC from 1998-2008 said, I can assure you the CDC has not stated what Dr.Levy said it stated. CDCtakes great pains to put clear information on its website and anybody that wants to know can go on it, Maas said. There's plenty of evidence children and adults benefit from fluoridated water.

Portland City Council voted for fluoridation in the fall. But an anti-fluoride group collected enough signatures to put it to a vote. Three previous votes have rejected it. Ballots will go out on May 3.

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