News Feature | March 13, 2017

Petition To Stop Addition Of Fluoride To Drinking Water Rejected By EPA

Dominique 'Peak' Johnson

By Peak Johnson

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Fluoride continues to be a strongly-debated issue across the country. Last month, opponents of the chemical filed a petition to stop community water systems from adding the substance to drinking water.

The U.S. EPA denied the petition, the second time in four years that officials from the agency have looked over and rejected petitions to stop water fluoridation.

According to Telemundo Lubbock, six anti-fluoride groups filed the petition last year, “urging the EPA to ban the adding of fluoride to drinking water, citing its alleged ‘neurotoxic risks.’”

In its announcement denying the petitions, the agency stated that the primary reason was “because EPA concluded that 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 U.S. through the purposeful addition of fluoridation chemicals to drinking water or otherwise from fluoride exposure in the U.S.”

The EPA added that it has “also denied the petition on the independent grounds that the petition neither justified the regulation of fluoridation chemicals as a category, nor identified an adequate section 6 rule as the action sought.”

According to Collective Evolution, the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) is “among a coalition of environmental, medical, and health groups now urging the [U.S. EPA] to ban the addition of fluoride to public drinking water supplies.”

A petition presented to the EPA from FAN and other groups last year claims to have over 2,500 pages of scientific documentation that show the effects of water fluoridation to human health.

Under what is known as the Toxic Substances Control Act, the EPA can cease “the use of a chemical that may possess risks to the general public, as well as vulnerable populations.”

Telemundo pointed out that there are more than 211 million Americans who are served by water systems with fluoride. Worldwide, there are fluoridation programs “in more than 20 nations, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Spain.”

In December, NBC Bay Area reported that 230,000 people in East San Jose, Almaden Valley, and Santa Teresa began receiving fluoridated water. By 2020, after the water district has finished upgrading its two other water treatment plants, another 520,000 people will receive fluoride there, including residents of West San Jose, Cupertino, Saratoga, and other parts of Los Gatos, The Mercury News reported.

Last December, the Alabama Supreme Court had decided that a Marshall County water system could stop fluoridating its water over issues that the practice was not considered to be healthy. After hearing testimony from medical experts, a Marshall County judge issued a preliminary injunction that restarted the fluoridation, Alabama.com reported. The waterworks appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court.

Image credit: "Sodium Fluoride, March 2012" Peter Gibson © 2012 used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/