LAWSUIT AGAINST US EPA RE. FLUORIDE NEUROTOXICITY
VIDEO: A brief explanation of FAN’s EPA petition. The screenshot shows FAN co-founder Paul Connett with William J. Hirzy, retired Senior Scientist for Risk Assessment at US EPA (1981-2004), just after delivering the petition to EPA, along with many boxes of documentation.
PETITION DELIVERED November 23, 2016: The International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology (IAOMT), and Fluoride Action Network (FAN), in coalition with others*, hand delivered to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) a petition with over 2,500 pages of scientific documentation, to ban the use of water fluoridation chemicals because of the neurotoxic risks of fluoride ingestion.
*PETITIONERS INCLUDE: American Academy of Environmental Medicine, Food & Water Watch, Fluoride Action Network (FAN), International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, Moms Against Fluoridation, Organic Consumers Association, and various individuals.
THE PETITION was submitted under Section 21 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) because TSCA authorizes US 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. Full text: 15 USC Ch. 53: TOXIC SUBSTANCES CONTROL From Title 15—COMMERCE AND TRADE
The Petition presents a comprehensive list of human, animal and cell studies on fluoride’s neurotoxicity, 196 of the studies published since 2006 alone. The amount of fluoride from all sources, regularly consumed in fluoridated U.S. water districts, exceeds the levels that cause IQ loss. The scientific evidence meets TSCA requirements, more than enough for EPA to halt fluoridation of tap water. The full petition is available here: http://fluoridealert.org/wp-content/uploads/epa-petition.pdf
From the date the EPA received the petition, it had 90 days to respond.
NOTE: Historically, when a chemical has evidence of neurotoxicity, for example lead, It is evaluated under EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) to determine whether there is a safe level of exposure, and if there is not, the chemical is banned. In 2014, EPA added fluoride to its short list of chemicals, including arsenic and lead, with scientific evidence of developmental neurotoxic harm to humans. Arsenic and Lead have been evaluated under IRIS, and banned for human ingestion. EPA has not yet made an official IRIS evaluation of Fluoride, but in the 1980s, when the scientists in EPA’s Department of Risk Assessment applied IRIS standards to Fluoride, they determined that a safe dose of Fluoride is zero . Since that time, evidence of Fluoride toxicity at low levels has continued to mount.
EPA REJECTS PETITION February 27, 2017: EPA published its rejection of the petition, on the grounds that the petition failed to address conditions of use other than the fluoridation of drinking water.
In rejecting the petition, EPA rejected its own policies on neurotoxic risk, which, if applied, would ban the use of fluoridation chemicals.
NOTE: For an explanation of EPA’s stated reasons for rejecting the petition, read The National Law Review blog (March 7, 2017), “EPA Denies TSCA Section 21 Petition on Fluoride Chemicals in Drinking Water; Provides Response to Petition.”
LAWSUIT FILED April 18, 2017: In response to US EPA’s denial of the petition, on behalf of the petitioners, attorneys Michael Connett and James Deal filed a complaint against EPA, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The complaint seeks a ban on water fluoridation, under Section 21 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The case is now in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Judge Edward M. Chen presiding (Food & Water Watch Inc., et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 17-2162, Northern District California). READ THE OFFICIAL COMPLAINT.
NOTE: According to 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.”
AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF October 25, 2017 – The Natural Resources Defense Council and Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families filed an Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of Neither Party, against the EPA’s stated grounds for dismissal. READ THE AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF.
EPA FILES TO DISMISS November 30, 2017 – EPA filed a motion to dismiss “all claims in the present matter.” READ THE MOTION TO DISMISS.
JUDGE CHEN DENIES EPA MOTION December 21, 2017: Judge Chen issued an order denying US EPA’s motion to dismiss the complaint. READ THE ORDER DENYING US EPA’S MOTION FOR DISMISSAL.
THE NATIONAL LAW REVIEW WEIGHS IN: “In a fairly scathing rebuke of EPA’s legal positions, the court denied EPA’s motion to dismiss the petitioner’s judicial challenge of EPA’s administrative denial of the Section 21 petition and, in so doing, essentially rejected EPA’s interpretation that a citizen petition must evaluate all conditions of use of a chemical substance in a TSCA Section 6(b) risk evaluation.” – National Law Review (12/23/2017. Read the National Law Review article for a more complete explanation and discussion of Judge Chen’s order.
EPA FILES TO LIMIT REVIEW January 15, 2018: The EPA “filed a brief seeking a protective order limiting review to the administrative record…” In other words, EPA would deny the plaintiffs the right to submit evidence not submitted at the time of the original filing, including new scientific evidence that did not exist at the time of the filing, and evidence from the EPA itself, unavailable to the petitioners, but potentially available to the plaintiffs. Source: Lexis Legal News (1/18/2018).
PLAINTIFF OPPOSES A LIMIT January 25, 2018: READ THE PLAINTIFF’S OPPOSITION TO THE EPA MOTION TO LIMIT EVIDENCE.
EPA MOTION DENIED February 7, 2018: Judge Chen issued an order denying EPA’s motion to limit the scope of the evidence submitted in Food & Water Watch Inc., et al, v. EPA, “opening the door to the plaintiffs offering a broad range of evidence to bolster their case rather than relying [solely] on information in EPA’s record.” READ THE ORDER DENYING US EPA’S MOTION TO LIMIT EVIDENCE. Sources: Fluoride Action Network (2/8/2018); Inside EPA Daily News (2/7/2018).
GOING FORWARD: The suit has survived EPA’s challenges, and will be heard, August 2019, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco.
WE’LL KEEP YOU POSTED.