The Problem with Fluoridated Water in Portland, Oregon

Staff Writer
Baristas and brewers are leading the fight against adding fluoride to Portland's tap water

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

While many believe that tap water is a safe choice compared to bottled water, people certainly are afraid of the fluoride that's added to tap water supplies all over the country. And one culinary city, Portland, Ore., is concerned that the newest initiative to add fluoride to tap water will inevitably hurt their beloved beverages: coffee and beer. 

Bon Appétit shares that baristas and brewers are stirring up some debate on adding fluoride to the city's tap water, on a ballot measure. After head brewer of Upright Brewing, Alex Ganum, wrote to The Oregonian that standard levels of fluoride won't change how his beer tastes, the anti-fluoride activists were up in arms on the brewery's social media outlets. Ganum said to Bon Appétit that much of the stigma against fluoride in Portland's water may simply be because of the pride of the city's tap water (sourced from the Bull Run watershed). "[The water is] kind of a brewer's dream, but fluoride won't affect that," he says, noting that Portland's water is without that "sulfary, slimy smell" that other tap water can have. "It has no flavor." Still, others like the head of Heart Coffee Roaster and shop, Wille Yli-Luoma, worry that fluoride could effect how their products taste. 

Still, there are lots of ways to avoid fluoride if you want to. Our experts on water recommend filtration systems for at-home use — or reading the back of your bottled water very, very carefully. 

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