A legal battle regarding community water fluoridation continues in federal court.
After postponing a ruling on whether or not the level of fluoride in community drinking water brings risk to public health in late June, U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen held a status conference on Thursday.
During the conference, Chen met with the attorneys from both the plaintiff, Food & Water Watch Inc. (FWW), and the defendant, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to determine how the case is progressing.
While no final decisions were made at the conference, Chen did put the case on abeyance and decided to keep open evidence only for new studies.
FWW attorneys, according to an update Friday from Fluoride Action Network, were instructed by Chen to re-submit an amended petition with pregnant mothers as plaintiffs to EPA and he will monitor the agency’s response.
Another status hearing at the federal court is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. PST on Nov. 5.
The battle began when, in 2016, FWW and several other national organizations petitioned the EPA to fulfill responsibilities under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) regulations by banning the addition of fluoridation chemicals to water.
The EPA denied the petition, which organizations followed by suing the agency in 2017.
The case strikes a local chord as Gloucester resident and Food & Water Watch member Karen Favazza Spencer testified in the original petition. She credits community water fluoridation to be a leading factor in her own medical complications.
Spencer said fluoride in community drinking water has side effects such as learning disabilities, lowered IQ, and significant loss in cognitive functions for babies could occur.
The neighboring town of Rockport may reconsider the fluoridation of town water. Town Meeting on Saturday was to consider a citizens petition article to ban the adding of any fluoridation products to municipal water supplies, but instead postponed the question until Fall Town Meeting or a special Town Meeting can be held.