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San Francisco Trial On Fluoride In Drinking Water

5 months, 2 weeks ago

7888  0
Posted on Jun 12, 2020, 2 p.m.

In the US District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco a trial in underway in a lawsuit in which the Environmental Protection Agency is being asked to put a ban on fluoride chemicals from the water supplies across the nation; the outcome could put an end to the common practice of adding the chemical to drinking waters in America.

The Fluoride Action Network is set to argue that fluoridating water supplies is in violation of the Toxic Substances Control Act, specifically the parts relating to the use of any chemical substance that has been found to pose an unreasonable risk to that of public health; section 21 of this acts allows for citizens to petition the EPA to ban or regulate specific chemicals such as fluoride. 

While this may be new information to some, this group began this legal fight when they presented a Citizens’ Petition along with several other organizations and individuals back in 2016. This petition called for the EPA to ban the addition of fluoridation chemicals in all American water, based on studies showing that the chemical is a neurotoxin at the doses that are being used across the nation. Originally the trial was set to begin in August of 2019 but it was postponed until April 2020 and the outbreak of COVID-19 has pushed it back once more. 

Some of the plaintiffs that have joined the Fluoride Action Network in this case include Food and Water Watch, the Organic Consumers Association, the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, Moms Against Fluoridation, and the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. 

The plaintiffs have presented recent studies such as those showing when pregnant women drink fluoridated water her children have a significantly greater likelihood of suffering from neurological damage, attention deficit hyperactivity, and a lower IQ level. The plaintiffs also say that fluoridated toothpastes offer all of the same benefits as fluoridated water without the risks. Other studies have found that fluoride can lead to other health problems such as urinary stone disease, thyroid problems, weight gain, and depression. 

After the first day of testimony in the trial attorney Michael Connet said that this trial could possibly bring about “a historic shift in how we go about using and regulating fluoride.”

US District Judge Edward Chen is hearing the case without a jury, and he has already rejected a move by the EPA to introduce evidence into the first phase of the trial showing that the benefits of fluoride outweigh the health risks. After the first phase of the trial Chen will need to decide whether the risks posed by fluoridation of drinking water is unreasonable or not. If Chen reaches the conclusion of the risks being unreasonable he is expected to order the EPA to start eliminating the risk via the rule making proceedings that would be debated in the second phase of the trial. 

Fluoride was first added to American drinking waters in the 1940s, now it is commonly found within the majority of water systems serving major populations with exception to a few communities that have banned it such as Portland, Oregon. Almost ⅔ of American drinking water contains fluoride, a move to reduce or eliminate it from the drinking water could have an impact on public health.

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