Case reveals government attempts to limit available evidence about potential toxicity of water fluoridation
Case reveals government attempts to limit available evidence about potential toxicity of water fluoridation

By Christy Prais

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to oppose and delay a lawsuit filed against them by the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) to ban the use of fluoride in public water supplies in the United States.

The case has revealed government attempts to limit available evidence and avoid having the facts of water fluoridation reviewed in court. A spokesperson with FAN told The Epoch Times in an email, “this represents a major reversal in the federal agencies’ position, and will ensure that the public has access to these critical documents that would have otherwise remained buried forever.”

Fluoride exposure has been linked to an increased risk of hypothyroidism in pregnant women and brain-based disorders in their offspring. There are also findings that higher fluoride exposure is associated with reduced IQ in children.

From Petition to Lawsuit

The lawsuit began in 2017 after a petition filed in November 2016 called on the EPA to “protect the public and susceptible subpopulations from the neurotoxic risks of fluoride by banning the addition of fluoridation chemicals to water.”

The petition referenced more than 2,500 pages of scientific documentation detailing the risks of water fluoridation to human health, including more than 180 published studies showing fluoride is linked to reduced IQ and neurotoxic harm.

In its Feb. 27, 2017 response, the EPA claimed the petition had failed to “set forth a scientifically defensible basis to conclude that any persons have suffered neurotoxic harm as a result of exposure to fluoride,” and denied the claim.

The Toxic Substances Control Act passed in 2016 includes statutes that provide citizens the ability to challenge an EPA denial in federal court. Thus, in 2017, FAN, Food & Water Watch, and Organic Consumers Association filed a lawsuit against the EPA challenging the denial.

After numerous legal delays brought on by the EPA the latest developments in the ongoing case include:

  • Judge Edward M. Chen of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California rejected the EPA’s request for a six-month delay in the trial.
  • Released internal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emails indicate the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services assistant health secretary Rachel Levine and the National Institute of Health’s director Lawrence A. Tabak intervened to stop the release of the most recent study on fluoride’s toxicity by the National Toxicology Program (NTP).
  • Chen lifted a stay on the protective order that has shielded the NTP’s recent study on the toxicity of fluoride from release following a January 2023 issued subpoena.

Most recently, in a Feb. 3 meeting, the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences agreed to post and make public NTP’s Fluoride Toxicity Report on NTP’s website on or before March 15.

The posted documents will include the most recent subpoenaed Fluoride Toxicity Report, comments provided by the Board of Scientific Counselors, the NTP’s subsequent responses, and a related meta-analysis. It’s possible that these documents could play a major role in the second trial phase of the ongoing legal battle.

Government Agency Interference 

Internal CDC emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by plaintiff attorney Michael Connett showed discussion and comments related to the NTP’s unreleased Fluoride Toxicity Report.

The emails seem to indicate the NTP report was not made public due to interference from Levine and Tabak.

One email from the CDC dated June 3, 2022, specifically stated, “ASH [Assistant Secretary of Health] Levine has put the report on hold until further notice.”

In the submitted notice Connett stated, “These emails confirm that the NTP considered the May 2022 monograph to be the NTP’s final report. They also confirm that the CDC was opposed to the NTP releasing the report, and that leadership at the top levels of the Department of Health and Human Services intervened to stop the report from being released.”

Harmful Effects of Fluoride

In the past, fluoridation chemicals were obtained from the wet scrubbing systems of the phosphate fertilizer industry and added to many public water supplies in the United States to reduce tooth decay. It is now recognized by dental researchers that fluoride’s primary benefit comes from topical application and does not need to be swallowed to prevent tooth decay.

The FAN states that “in recent years, however, an increasing number of water departments have begun purchasing their fluoride chemicals from China. Based on recent incidents, it appears that the quality control of the Chinese chemicals is even more lax, and variable, than the U.S.-produced chemicals.”

The NTP’s 2019 Systematic Review of Fluoride Exposure and Neurodevelopment and Cognitive Health Effects concluded that “ … fluoride is presumed to be a cognitive neurodevelopmental hazard to humans.” They state that “This conclusion is based on a consistent pattern of findings in human studies across several different populations showing that higher fluoride exposure is associated with decreased IQ or other cognitive impairments in children.” 

This conclusion is consistent with the 180 published studies showing fluoride causes neurotoxic harm and reduces IQ cited in the 2016 petition to the EPA.

Also, in 2014, fluoride was added to a list of chemicals known to cause developmental neurotoxicity in human beings in a review published by The Lancet.

Recently a study on the toxicity of fluoride published in Science of the Total Environment in February 2023 by scientists from Toronto’s York University, linked fluoride exposure with an increased risk of hypothyroidism in pregnant women.

The condition of hypothyroidism also known as “under-active thyroid” happens when the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism is a known cause of brain-based disorders in children.

Fluoride’s ability to suppress the thyroid has been documented since the 1930s when it was used in a product called fluorotyrosine, manufactured by German pharmaceutical company Bayer to treat overactive thyroid, also known as hyperthyroidism.

How to Reduce Fluoride Exposure

Fluoride may be found in tap water, toothpastes, non-organically grown foods, pesticides used in farming, dental products, and many other commonly used products.

Some common sources of fluoride include:

  • Bottled beverages (due to fluoride content in water).
  • Toothpaste, mouthwash, and other dental hygiene products.
  • Black tea, red tea, and other teas.
  • Canned foods.
  • Black/red rock salt.
  • Chewing tobacco.
  • Supplements (always check the labels).
  • Medications.

Some simple and effective steps to prevent fluoride exposure:

  • Install a water filtration system that removes fluoride from your drinking water and shower. Fluoride in city water supplies could be an unrecognized cause of hypothyroidism in the United States.
  • Use non-fluoridated toothpaste. Fluoride-free toothpaste and fluoride-free mouthwash are available at most stores today.
  • Check the labels on processed foods and home cleaning products.
  • Be mindful of medications and supplements that may contain fluoride.

The Fluoride Action Networks’ battle against the EPA continues at the next scheduled court hearing on April 11, 2023.

All court documents relating to the trial can be found here.

The EPA declined a request for comment on the case.

“As this is pending litigation, EPA has nothing to add,” a spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email.

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