Fluoride Action Network

Sulfuryl fluoride: We need to get it out of the 2014 House Appropriations Bill

FAN Bulletin | July 26, 2013

Dear Supporter,

We need your help! Our childrens’ health and the safety of our food is being threatened by Dow AgroSciences, their lobbyists, and their Congressional lapdogs.

Just when we thought that Dow AgroSciences had been thwarted in its efforts to use the Farm Bill to overturn the EPA’s ruling that the neurotoxic food fumigant sulfuryl fluoride should be phased out, it is back again with more dirty politicking. This time it is using the 2014 House Appropriations Bill to do its dirty work.

The Republican-led House Appropriations bill looks like it will pass with the approval of the full Appropriations committee and possibly pass on the House floor in the coming weeks.  This means that the Senate is where we may have to stop this awful provision.  While the Senate version of the Appropriations bill doesn’t appear to contain the same sulfuryl fluoride rider, we suspect that Dow, along with Senator Joe Donnelly, are working to include it.  This is why we need your help now, before it is too late to act.

Your emails helped keep the sulfuryl fluoride amendment off of the Farm bill, and now we need your help keeing it out of the budget.  Please contact your Senators and urge them to oppose the House Appropriations rider on Sulfuryl Fluoride, and to oppose any similar efforts using any Senate bills for these three reasons:

  • To keep intact the integrity of the Food Quality & Protection Act of 1996,
  • To protect our children from more exposure to toxic fluoride and
  • To ban undue influence from companies like Dow on government agencies that actually do their job to protect the public

1.) Contact your Senator using our automated system. We especially need your help if you live in NH, ME, OR, CA, or VT.

2.) Call your Senator.  Phone calls are 100 times more influential than emails, and Senate staff does take note of constituent positions on issues.

If you live in any of these states AK, CA, MO, MS, MT, NM, NE, ND, OR, RI, SD, TN, VT please personally contact the following Senators who are working on the bill. They are the members on the subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies.

Democratic Subcommittee Members

Senator Jack Reed (RI) (Chairman)

Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA): DC officeCalifornia offices

Senator Patrick Leahy (VT)

Senator Tim Johnson (SD)

Senator Jon Tester (MT)

Senator Tom Udall (NM)

Senator Jeff Merkley (OR)

Senator Mark Begich (AK)

Republican Subcommittee Members

Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK) (Ranking)

Senator Thad Cochran (MS)

Senator Lamar Alexander (TN)

Senator Roy Blunt (MO)

Senator John Hoeven (ND)

Senator Mike Johanns (NE)

Background: In January 2011, in a momentous decision, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Division of Pesticides bravely thwarted Dow and accepted all of FAN’s (as well as EWG’s and Beyond Pesticides’s) objections to the use of this fumigant on food.

We successfully argued that according to an act designed to provide more protections to children’s health from pesticies (the 1996 Food Quality and Protection Act), the estimated exposure to a new pesticide combined with any background exposure should not exceed a safe reference dose. The trouble for Dow is that sulfuryl fluoride breaks down to fluoride and millions of American kids are already exceeding the designated safe reference dose for fluoride without any additions from sulfuryl fluoride.

Dow has allies in Congress willing to do its bidding – and in this case willing to undermine a good Act passed in 1996 to protect children’s health.  At the bottom of this email you can read the tortuous language added to the 2014 House Appropriations Bill. Translated into English, this is what it says:

Dow AgroSciences is not happy that its food fumigant sulfuryl fluoride is on the chopping block. To please Dow, we have decided on the following: Science and the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996 be dammed. 


SEC. 449. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the Environmental Protection Agency to prepare and finalize an order under section 408 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 346a) that in any way removes, withdraws, revokes, or stays tolerances for the pesticide chemical sulfuryl fluoride if that final order takes into consideration aggregate or cumulative exposure to other substances related to sulfuryl fluoride or its metabolites or degradates pursuant to sections 408(b)(2)(A), 408(b)(2)(C), 408(b)(2)(D)(v), and 408(b)(2)(D)(vi) of such Act (21 U.S.C. 346a (b)(2)(A), 346a(b)(2)(C), 346a(b)(2)(D)(v), and 346a(b)(2)(D)(vi)). Dow


Stuart Cooper

FAN, Campaign Manager
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