Fluoride Action Network

EPA Scientist Rips Fluoride IQ Links As ‘A Lot Of Uncertainty’.

Source: Law360 | February 12th, 2024 | By Dorothy Atkins

LAW360. EXCERPT. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scientist testifying in a California federal bench trial Monday over fluoride’s risks criticized studies showing links between fluoride exposure and IQ drops, saying repeatedly there’s “a lot of uncertainty” regarding the studies’ data and the “evidence is weak.”

Stanley Barone Jr., who helps conduct risk evaluations for the agency, was the last defense witness to take the stand on behalf of the EPA in the two-week bench trial. The trial is being held before U.S. District Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco in high-stakes litigation launched by Food & Water Watch Inc. and others against the federal government in 2017.

The groups seek to force the EPA to make a new federal rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act that would ban fluoride from being added to drinking water. Local municipalities have added the chemical to public water for decades to boost dental health and prevent tooth decay, but throughout trial, the groups’ experts have testified that the latest scientific studies suggest that fluoride is neurotoxic and that even low levels of exposure lowers IQ.

… Before trial recessed for the day, Judge Chen told Barone he understood why Barone would suggest that the evidence is inconclusive with respect to very low levels of fluoride exposure, because the data on low exposures is “mixed.”

“It’s unclear,” Judge Chen said. “There’s not enough data points.”

However, the judge noted that dozens of studies appear to show a consistent relationship between high levels of fluoride exposure and IQ drops.

“At some point, once you get to higher levels [of exposure] there’s very clear consistency,” the judge said. “At some point, given all the studies that have been done. … Something is going on at some level, isn’t that pretty clear?”

Barone agreed that there is a relationship between fluoride exposure and IQ drops at higher levels.

“Yes, I agree, something is going on at higher levels, but where that threshold is is very unclear to me,” Barone said. “I cannot tell you sitting here … where that point is, I just can’t.”

But Judge Chen pressed him further on his testimony.

“You may not know the lowest level from the studies done so far, but at the very least, there is an adverse effect at 4.0 mg/L,” the judge suggested.

Barone responded that there’s more data on exposures above 4.0 mg/L and that between 2.0 mg/L and 4.0 mg/L “there’s a jump,” but Barone reiterated, “again drawing that line, where the line is — I couldn’t tell you with much certainty where the low [level] line is.”

Trial, and Barone’s examination, will continue Tuesday morning…

–Editing by Linda Voorhis.

Read more at: https://www.law360.com/articles/1796893/epa-scientist-rips-fluoride-iq-links-as-a-lot-of-uncertainty-?copied=1

Original article online at https://www.law360.com/articles/1796893/epa-scientist-rips-fluoride-iq-links-as-a-lot-of-uncertainty-