Relevance to Fluoride Pesticides
The NRC report is not only relevant to current drinking water standards for fluoride, it is also highly relevant to EPA’s regulation of fluoride-based pesticides. Prior to the release of the NRC report, the EPA granted a request from Dow AgroSciences to use sulfuryl fluoride as a fumigant on food and food-processing facilities. The EPA based its approval of Dow’s request on a reference dose (8 mg/day, or 0.114 mg/kg/day) that was derived from the very standard that the NRC found to be hazardous to health. Following the publication of NRC’s report, therefore, the Fluoride Action Network (FAN), joined by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Beyond Pesticides (BP), petitioned EPA to stop the use of sulfuryl fluoride.
In response to FAN’s challenge (which included detailed submissions spanning an nine-year stretch from 2001 to 2010), the EPA’s Office of Pesticides Program agreed in January 2011 to withdraw its approval of sulfuryl fluoride tolerances (permissible residue levels) on food. Following EPA’s announcement of its intention to phase out sulfuryl fluoride, Dow AgroSciences and numerous food processing facilities filed voluminous objections. As a result of this pressure, EPA is now re-considering its decision.
For more information on the sulfuryl fluoride controversy, see:
- FAN’s Sulfuryl Fluoride Page
- EPA Acts on Fluoride – Chemical & Engineering News, January 14, 2011
- EPA Proposes Phaseout of Fluoride-Based Pesticide – New York Times, January 11, 2011
- Activists Target Fluoride Pesticides to Tighten Drinking Water Limits – Inside EPA, July 18, 2006
- Groups Demand Immediate Halt to Food Uses of Fluoride-Based Pesticide – Environmental Working Group, Fluoride Action Network, Beyond Pesticides, July 7, 2006