By Peter Chawaga
The latest development in what has long been a hot button issue within the drinking water community could have major implications for the fluoridation debate.
Many regulators believe that the controlled addition of fluoride to public water supplies can help reduce tooth decay. Opponents believe that this practice introduces unnecessary health risks. Following a recent ruling, those opponents have a chance to make their case in court.
“A California federal judge … denied the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s bid to toss a lawsuit from Food & Water Watch and others seeking to ban drinking-water fluoridation, rejecting the agency’s assertion the advocates didn’t provide enough information to determine if the chemical poses an unreasonable risk,” according to Law 360. “The ruling by U.S. Distributed Judge Edward M. Chen sets the ball in motion for the court to consider the petition by Food & Water Tech Inc., Fluoride Action Network and other groups.”
While concerns around fluoride additions are sometimes attributed to conspiracy theories, the presence of too much fluoride is well documented to have negative health effects.
“It turns out that, when it comes to fluoride, there is a risk of getting too much,” per The Kansas City Star. “Abundant evidence suggests that while a small dose of the chemical can help prevent cavities, some American children are being exposed to amounts of fluoride that could be harmful to their teeth — and, possibly, even damaging to their brain development.”
Ultimately, it will be up to the courts to decide whether fluoridation can continue in public drinking water. The EPA and much of the scientific community would defend the practice. But public opinion about fluoride is far from decided.
“Fluoride requires a prescription and proclaims to improve oral health,” read a recent letter in The Laconia Daily Sun. “It is therefore classified as a drug. Doesn’t this then become a form of mass medication and denies the right to informed consent? How can you regulate the amount of this drug that’s ingested by the public and ensure they stay within zone?”
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