ADEA Washington Update

EPA Denies Anti-fluoride Petition

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olderkiddrinkingwaterIn February, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denied a petition to change the way the agency treats fluoride.

The petition, filed under section 21 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in November 2016, addressed potential neurotoxic effects that fluoride could have on humans. The petitioners asserted that the “purposeful fluoridation of drinking water presents an unreasonable risk to human health from neurotoxicity, and that a ban on this use of fluoridation chemicals is necessary to curtail this unreasonable risk.”

The petitioners argued nine claims about fluoridation, including that fluoride is significantly neurotoxic to some human populations, that consumption of fluoride can lead to elevated blood lead levels and that fluoridating public water supplies has minimal public health benefits.

The EPA denied the petition, stating 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.”

Additionally, the EPA concluded that the petition did not justify the regulation of fluoride chemicals as a category and that the studies cited by the petitioners had substantial issues related to data quality.

The EPA response referenced other studies that showed the safety of fluoride. The ruling is seen as consistent with mainstream scientific acceptance of the safety of community water fluoridation. 

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