PORTLAND -- Protesters against the plan to add fluoride to Portland's water held signs and chanted outside of City Hall late Wednesday afternoon.

They want to see the issue put to a public ballot vote in the upcoming primary election.

Why put it in the water when brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing is excellent preventative care and it is proven to work? asked one protester.

Opponents have also argued that fluoride is an industrial byproduct that contains arsenic, lead and mercury, which can lead to neurological and potentially other health problems.

The Portland Council was scheduled to take public input on the plan beginning at 2 p.m. on Thursday. The City Council was expected to take a final vote on the proposal on Wednesday September 12.

More: Public testimony planned Thurs.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams supports the plan and said there is a dental crisis among Oregon children, compared to neighboring states and cities that use fluoride in their water.

More:Mayor explains support for fluoride

The majority of the Multnomah County commissioners have also said they support the plan. They have cited a Centers for Disease Control 2011 study that attributed $38 in dental treatment savings for every $1 spent on fluoridation. Commissioner Randy Leonard has said he wants to get the program in place through the Portland Water Bureau by February 2014.

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