SAN FRANCISCO—At 8:00 in the morning on Monday, June 8, a lawsuit demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ban fluoride chemicals from U.S. water supplies went to trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco.
Three groups brought the case against the EPA to court. These groups include Fluoride Action Network, Food and Water Watch, and Moms Against Fluoridation. The plaintiffs are requesting a prohibition on fluoride in U.S. water supplies under the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, which warrants the EPA to stop the usage of a chemical to protect public safety.
According to the Fluoride Action Network, fluoride has toxic properties that can have damaging effects on humans.
Fluoride Action Network Acting Director Paul Connett told the San Francisco News that several U.S. government studies have revealed that there is a correlation between pregnant women who drink fluoridated water and those who have children with lower IQs and increased ADHD symptoms.
The plaintiffs face opposition from the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The development of this case dates back to November 2016 when the plaintiffs first filed a petition to ban fluoridation.
According to an EPA spokesperson, the EPA rejected that petition because it concluded that the petition did not offer enough of a scientific case for the neurotoxic harms of fluoridated water.
In the years until now, the petition went back and forth finding support and resistance. The trial was originally set to begin in August 2019 but was postponed until April of this year, when it again had to be pushed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Now that the case has gone to trial, the plaintiffs’ witnesses include environmental epidemiologist Philippe Grandjean, scientist Howard Hu, medical expert Bruce Lanphear, and risk assessment scientist Kathleen Thiessen.
“Ironically, all four of these witnesses have been used by the EPA as go-to experts on the neurotoxicity of lead and mercury,” Connett noted.
As for the defendant, the EPA has recruited several expert witnesses from the company Exponent, Inc., an engineering and scientific consulting firm that has represented BP, ExxonMobil, and Dow Chemical in the past. Their witnesses include epidemiologic scientist Ellen Chang and board-certified toxicologist Joyce Tsuji.
As stated by an EPA spokesperson to the San Francisco News, “EPA is confident that there is still no scientifically defensible basis to justify the regulation of fluoridation chemicals added to drinking water.”
The trial is being broadcast virtually and will continue for two weeks, until June 19.