During a May 8 hearing in Food & Water Watch, Inc. et al v. EPA, Judge Edward Chen of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California signaled he would accept a pre-trial motion in limine the plaintiffs filed last December, seeking to bar testimony on fluoridation’s benefits from the trial.
Chen agreed with the plaintiffs that the revised law does not allow consideration of benefits when determining whether a substance poses an “unreasonable risk,” the threshold for EPA regulation under the law, while the provisions governing risk management actions allow such considerations.
… The clerk’s notes from the hearing state that Chen “has adopted a bifurcated [trial] structure; should the Court determine that an unreasonable risk exists, it will hold a second proceeding to determine whether EPA may defer the rulemaking process pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 2620.”
Chen said that “it makes sense to defer [such testimony until] if there is a finding of unreasonable risk. As much as I don’t like to bifurcate [a trial] because of inefficiency, it makes sense not to mix apples and oranges.”
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