WASHINGTON, June 20 /PRN/ — In a statement to the Center For Health Action, Jacqueline Warren, senior counsel for the Natural Resources Defense Council and a member of the National Drinking Water Advisory Council, expressed serious reservations about the legalities and evidence for proposing a 4-parts-per-million (ppm) standard for fluoride.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a 4-miligrams-per-liter (mg/l) as a “safe” level of fluoride in drinking water. This number is almost three times higher than the maximum permissible level that the EPA established 10 years ago as a mandatory national standard to protect health.

“There is no new evidence that fluoride is safer than previously believed. If anything, the evidence suggests that the present standard of 1.4 mg/l should be lowered to protect against adverse health effects,” emphasized Warren.

According to Warren, the EPA arrived at this proposed number by a semantic redefinition of what constitutes an adverse health effect of fluoride by effectively ignoring a growing body of evidence suggesting that exposure to low levels of fluoride may be harmful, and by disregarding the recommendation of its own National Drinking Water Advisory Council, as well as testimony from many witnesses at EPA hearings.

The Safe Drinking Water Act mandates EPA to prevent harm from drinking water contaminants by establishing standards and goals for drinking water quality that protect against “any known or anticipated adverse effects within adequate margins of safety.” Very serious questions have been raised about the adequacy of the existing standard which has been law in the United States for a decade to protect health, noted Warren.

“As a matter of prudent public policy, there is no justification in the Safe Drinking Water Act or current evidence for suddenly announcing that triple the current maximum allowable limit for fluoride in drinking water is safe. This is another unfortunate example of EPA’s continuing failure to adopt a preventive approach towards protecting public health. I strongly urge EPA to withdraw this ill-considered proposal and to establish a maximum permissible level of fluoride in drinking water that will truly protect public health,” she stressed.