September 9, 1985
Talking Points: New Alliance…
By Marjorie Williams
The newer debate over fluoride in drinking water – which questions whether Mother Nature fluoridates water too heavily for good health in some parts of the country – has given rise to what an Environmental Protection Agency workers’ union calls a “precedent-setting” case of strange bedfellows.
National Federation of Federal Employees Local 2050, representing scientists, engineers, lawyers and other professionals at EPA headquarters has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a lawsuit by the Natural Resources Defense Council to overturn EPA’s new standards for fluoride in drinking water. What’s remarkable is that he union filed on behalf of the environmentalists, and against the agency.
The union said that technical documentation for the new regulations “does not meet the high professional standards that should characterize EPA work, having been contracted out and done by people lacking expertise in the subject.” After appealing in vain to EPA Administrator Lee M. Thomas to have the assessment reviewed, union President Robert J. Carton concluded, “Our responsibility to defend EPA professionals’ reputations and to protect public health in this situation requires us to put loyalty to the public interest and to moral principle above loyalty to persons or to [a] government department.”