Fluoride Action Network

Fluoride Can Harm Brain, EPA Scientist Says As Trial Wraps.

Source: Law360 | February 13th, 2024 | By Bonnie Eslinger

LAW360. EXCERPT. The government wrapped its defense Tuesday in a California federal bench trial over environmental groups’ efforts to ban fluoride in America’s drinking water, with the government’s final witness acknowledging under cross-examination that fluoride is capable of causing “neurodevelopmental harm.”

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scientist Stanley Barone Jr., who helps conduct risk evaluations for the agency, was the last defense witness to take the stand on behalf of the government in the San Francisco bench trial before U.S. District Judge Edward Chen. The high-stakes litigation, launched by Food & Water Watch Inc. and others, against the federal government seeks to force the EPA to issue a new federal rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act that would ban fluoride from being added to drinking water.

…During his direct examination on Monday, Barone criticized studies showing links between fluoride exposure and reduced IQ, saying there’s significant uncertainty related to the studies’ data.

On Tuesday, a lawyer for the environmental groups asked the EPA scientist about the potential neurotoxic effects of fluoride.

“You do not dispute that fluoride is capable of causing neurodevelopmental harm, correct?” Michael Connett of Waters Kraus & Paul LLP, asked at the start of his cross-examination…

“I do not,” Barone said. “I said that in my deposition.”

“You agree that the current evidence is suggestive that low-dose fluoride causes neurodevelopmental effects, correct?” Connett pressed.

Barone said there’s still uncertainty in those scientific assessments of the chemical.

Connett later asked Barone about a 2022 study by the National Toxicology Program, run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The study reviewed scientific research on fluoride exposure and its neurodevelopmental and cognitive health effects on humans.

When asked, Barone acknowledged it was a “high quality review.” The scientist also agreed with the NTP’s conclusion that when flouride levels exceed 1.5 mg per liter of water, “there is moderate evidence to support an association between fluoride and developmental IQ decrements.”

However, Barone said the assessment was incomplete…

–Additional reporting by Dorothy Atkins. Editing by Drashti Mehta.

Original article online at https://www.law360.com/articles/1797527/fluoride-can-harm-brain-epa-scientist-says-as-trial-wraps