Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published their response to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) section 21 petition submitted by the Fluoride Action Network and a coalition including the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, Food & Water Watch, the International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology, Moms Against Fluoridation, and the Organic Consumers Association. The full TSCA petition can be accessed here, a shorter 8-page summary here, and our press release here.
Michael Connett, an attorney with the Fluoride Action Network and the author of the petition has the following statement regarding the initial ruling:
Unfortunately, the EPA’s decision to deny our petition demonstrates that the Agency is not yet prepared to let go of the outdated assumptions it has long held about fluoride.
We presented the Agency with a large body of human and animal evidence demonstrating that fluoride is a neurotoxin at levels now ingested by many U.S. children and vulnerable populations. We also presented the Agency with evidence showing that fluoride has little benefit when swallowed, and, accordingly, any risks from exposing people to fluoride chemicals in water are unnecessary. We believe that an impartial judge reviewing this evidence will agree that fluoridation poses an unreasonable risk.
In their decision the EPA claimed, “The petition has not set forth a scientifically defensible basis to conclude that any persons have suffered neurotoxic harm as a result of exposure to fluoride in the U.S. through the purposeful addition of fluoridation chemicals to drinking water or otherwise from fluoride exposure in the U.S.”
As many independent scientists now recognize, fluoride is a neurotoxin. The question, therefore, is not if fluoride damages the brain, but at what dose.
While EPA quibbles with the methodology of some of these studies, to dismiss and ignore these studies in their entirety for methodological imperfections is exceptionally cavalier, particularly given the consistency of the findings and the razor-thin margin between the doses causing harm in these studies and the doses that millions of Americans now receive.
EPA’s own Guidelines on Neurotoxicity Risk Assessment highlight the importance of having a robust margin between the doses of a chemical that cause neurotoxic effects and the doses that humans receive. We presented the EPA with over 180 studies showing that fluoride causes neurotoxic harm (e.g. reduced IQ), and pointed out that many of these studies found harm at levels within the range, or precariously close to, the levels millions of U.S. children now receive. Typically, this would be a cause for major concern. But, unfortunately, the EPA has consistently shied away from applying the normal rules of risk assessment to fluoride — and it has unfortunately continued that tradition with its dismissal of the Petition.
Fortunately, the TSCA statute provides that citizens can challenge an EPA denial in federal court and, importantly, that the federal court must conduct a de novo review of the evidence. In other words, federal courts are to conduct their own independent review of the evidence without deference to the EPA’s judgment. We intend, therefore, to challenge EPA’s denial in court, as we are confident in the merits of the Petition.
For too long, EPA has let politics trump science on the fluoride issue (see examples). We welcome therefore having these issues considered by a federal court.
FAN will continue to provide updates as we move forward with our case against the EPA.
NTP Conference Call Audio
On February 16th, 2017 the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) gave an update via conference call on their pending review of fluoride’s neurotoxic effect on humans and animals. In this conference call, NTP updated interested parties on the status of their study and fielded several questions on the specifics of their soon-to-be -published review. A handful of FAN team members were on the call and asked questions:
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For more fluoride related media, please visit FAN’s News Archive.
Fluoride Action Network