… Dr. Tala Henry, director of the EPA’s Risk Assessment Division … said there was insufficient evidence to support the claim that fluoridation in water posed a safety risk at the current recommended dose level.
On cross-examination, plaintiffs’ counsel Michael P. Connett of Waters Kraus & Paul LLP said the EPA used a causation standard for assessing risk when it came to fluoride, but not other chemicals.
“You held the plaintiffs to a burden of proof that EPA has not held a single chemical under section 6 [of the Toxic Substances Control Act] before, correct?” Connett asked.
“By the words on the page, I guess that’s true,” Henry said. “But it was really, my opinion was based mostly on the methodological problems.”
… U.S. District Judge Edward Chen has bifurcated the federal trial, with phase one focusing on whether fluoride poses an unreasonable risk to people who drink water containing it. If Judge Chen finds that it does, the trial will move to a second phase in which he will be tasked with determining a remedy, which could come in the form of a complete ban or something less.
This is the first case under the Toxic Substances Control Act’s citizen suit provision to reach a federal trial and will test citizens’ and nongovernmental organizations’ power to force the EPA to regulate chemicals it has deemed safe based on how a judge assesses the scientific studies and expert testimony that both sides will present at trial.
… Expert witnesses for the plaintiffs have testified that recent human and animal studies support the conclusion that U.S. fluoride exposure levels in drinking water are too high and are endangering the next generation’s intelligence, earning potential and societal contributions.
The EPA’s expert witnesses, on the other hand, have testified that there is too little sound scientific evidence to conclude that fluoride is toxic to a developing human brain and to justify the regulation of fluoridation chemicals in drinking water…
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