Major US lawsuit to have fluoride removed

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In November 2016 a major petition was served on the US Environmental Protection Agency and groundbreaking legal proceedings are underway against the EPA that may well result in the process of fluoridation being discontinued in the United States altogether. 
  • November 2016, a coalition files a petition calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the deliberate addition of fluoridation chemicals to America’s drinking water;
  • February 2017, the EPA respond, stating the petition has not provided evidence to conclude that any persons have suffered neurotoxic harm as a result of exposure to fluoride in the US;
  • This was despite EPA receiving more than 180 studies showing that fluoride causes neurotoxic harm (e.g. reduced IQ). Many of these studies found harm at levels within the range, or precariously close to, the levels millions of US and Australian children now receive; (and Australia’s fluoride concentration is higher than the US);
  • EPA has consistently shied away from applying the normal rules of risk assessment to fluoride and continues to do so in this case;
  • April 2017, a detailed response is given to EPA’s rejection of the petition;
  • September 2017 EPA retaliated with a Motion to Dismiss the petition.
  • December 2017 the Court ruled in favour of the consortium, denying EPA’s Motion to Dismiss;
  • Since then, discovery of evidence and depositions have continued with more scientific studies presented showing the physiological damage of fluoride;
  • The trial dates are now scheduled for April 2020.

On 22 November 2016, a coalition led by US-based Fluoride Action Network (FAN) filed a petition calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban the deliberate addition of fluoridation chemicals to America’s drinking water. Specifically, the Petition was submitted under Section 21 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) because it authorizes EPA to prohibit the “particular use” of a chemical that presents an unreasonable risk to the general public or susceptible subpopulations. TSCA also gives EPA the authority to prohibit drinking water additives.

A group of highly-qualified and experienced scientists are leading a consortium in a legal challenge against the US EPA.

FAN presented EPA with a large body of human and animal evidence demonstrating that fluoride is a neurotoxin at levels now ingested by many US children and vulnerable populations. FAN also presented the EPA with evidence showing that fluoride has little benefit when swallowed, and, accordingly, any risks from exposing people to fluoride chemicals in water are unnecessary. FAN and thousands of scientists, health professionals and other relevant professionals worldwide believe that an impartial judge reviewing this evidence will agree that fluoridation poses an unreasonable risk.

On 27 February 2017, the EPA published their response. In their decision the EPA claimed, “The petition has not set forth a scientifically defensible basis to conclude that any persons have suffered neurotoxic harm as a result of exposure to fluoride in the US  through the purposeful addition of fluoridation chemicals to drinking water or otherwise from fluoride exposure in the US”

As many independent scientists now recognize, fluoride is a neurotoxin. The question, therefore, is not if fluoride damages the brain, but at what dose.

“While EPA quibbles with the methodology of some of these studies, to dismiss and ignore these studies in their entirety for methodological imperfections is exceptionally cavalier, particularly given the consistency of the findings and the razor-thin margin between the doses causing harm in these studies and the doses that millions of Americans now receive”, said Professor Paul Connett, Executive Director of Fluoride Action Network.

“EPA’s own Guidelines on Neurotoxicity Risk Assessment highlight the importance of having a robust margin between the doses of a chemical that cause neurotoxic effects and the doses that humans receive. We presented the EPA with over 180 studies showing that fluoride causes neurotoxic harm (e.g. reduced IQ), and pointed out that many of these studies found harm at levels within the range, or precariously close to, the levels millions of U.S. children now receive. Typically, this would be a cause for major concern. But, unfortunately, the EPA has consistently shied away from applying the normal rules of risk assessment to fluoride — and it has unfortunately continued that tradition with its dismissal of the Petition.

Fortunately, the TSCA statute provides that citizens can challenge an EPA denial in federal court.  For too long, EPA has let politics trump science on the fluoride issue (see examples).  We welcome therefore having these issues considered by a federal court,” said Professor Connett.

On 18 April 2017, FAN provided a detailed response to EPA’s rejection of the petition and on 25 September 2017 EPA retaliated with a Motion to Dismiss the FAN Coalition’s petition.

On 30 November 2017 a hearing was held where both parties were able to present their arguments. Michael Connett JD put forward a case on behalf of FAN et al for why EPA’s Motion to Dismiss should be denied and the case should proceed.

On 21 December 2017 the Court ruled in favour of FAN et al, denying EPA’s Motion to Dismiss.

After further desperate attempts by the EPA to limit review and discovery of evidence, on 24 October 2018 the court ordered more discovery of evidence.

The case is continuing and trial dates are scheduled for April 2020.

According to FAN’s attorney, Michael Connett: “This case will present the first time a court will consider the neurotoxicity of fluoride and the question of whether fluoridation presents an unreasonable risk under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  And, in contrast to most other legal challenges of Agency actions, TSCA gives us the right to get the federal court to consider our evidence ‘de novo’—meaning federal courts are to conduct their own independent review of the evidence without deference to the EPA’s judgment.”

For more details of this legal process, visit the FAN web site.