EPA has hired scientists from the consulting firm Exponent to bolster its defense in a precedent-setting case over its rejection of a citizen’s petition seeking to use the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to ban the practice of fluoridating drinking water, a move that is drawing strong criticism from one of the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses, who says it shows an industry bias.
“They’re scientists of uncertainty. If you go back and look at the reports in the past, time and again they’ve turned out to be wrong. They’ve been on the wrong side of history. They are there to protect industry,” Bruce Lanphear, a researcher best known for his publications on the neurotoxic effects of low-dose lead exposure on children, said in recent deposition testimony.
According to deposition testimony and experts’ reports in the case Food and Water Watch et al v. EPA et al, the agency has hired an Exponent epidemiologist and toxicologist to defend its position that there is insufficient evidence of health harm to justify banning fluoridation.
The move is an unusual one for EPA, however, since Exponent’s clients are generally companies seeking assistance to comply with environmental health and safety regulations, to lobby agencies from tightening risk standards or regulations and to act as expert witnesses in litigation…
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