Groups opposed to fluoridating drinking water are planning to sue EPA over its denial of their petition asking it to use Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) authority to prohibit fluoridation, which will pose a test of the agency’s novel rationale for rejecting the request as falling short of what is required under the recently revised TSCA.
Michael Connett, a legal advisor to Fluoride Action Network — one of the groups that filed the petition — told Inside EPA in a recent interview that the agency justified its rejection by saying the petition failed to assess all uses of fluoride, but that this is a new position that prior petitions never had to meet.
Connett said that the denial sets a precedent which could create hurdles for similar petitions because it means “that in order to obtain relief of a particular use of a chemical, petitioners are now required to [evaluate] all uses of the chemical. That’s new, that has not been required in the past. It’s not dictated by the statute.”
EPA in its Feb. 27 denial said that the request to prohibit drinking water fluoridation — a single use of a chemical — was inconsistent with the agency’s obligation under the updated TSCA to conduct comprehensive reviews of specific chemicals and address risks from all uses.
But Connett said that the agency’s new requirement is “shifting the burden” from the agency to anyone petitioning EPA under TSCA section 21 for action. “That shouldn’t be our obligation,” he said, adding that regarding other uses of fluoride, “EPA is in a better position to know that information.” …
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