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Editor’s note: Beginning Feb. 1, The Defender will provide daily updates on the fluoride trial taking place this week in San Francisco.
Fluoride should be banned from drinking water and the U.S. government must warn people — especially pregnant mothers — about the serious health risks of drinking fluoridated water, attorney Michael Connett told journalist Kim Iversen.
The trial — which resumed today after a four-year pause — seeks to prohibit the addition of fluoride to water.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco set aside nine days for testimony and cross-examination of experts and fact witnesses.
In yesterday’s episode of the “Kim Iversen Show,” Connett discussed the case and why it’s so important. He said:
“We now have data — high-quality data funded by the NIH [National Institutes of Health] — linking maternal exposure to fluoride with deficits in IQ … that’s really the focus of our lawsuit.
“The court has one question before it, and that is: Does fluoridation present an unreasonable risk of neurodevelopmental effects? … If the court rules that it does, then the EPA will be mandated by law to take action to address that risk.”
Although the court can’t tell the EPA how to address the risk, the EPA has the authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act to ban fluoridation.
“If we win,” Connett said, “and the EPA does what logic would seem to dictate — namely if their obligation is to eliminate the risk posed by fluoridation chemicals — then the obvious way of doing that is to ban this practice.”
Currently, the choice of whether to fluoridate water rests at the state and local levels. But if the EPA bans the practice, “no municipality — even if it wants to — can fluoridate its water because EPA would be the highest authority on that issue.”
Today more than 200 million Americans in thousands of communities drink fluoridated water.
Most major cities — including Los Angeles, where Iversen resides — fluoridate their water. “I certainly don’t want to drink fluoride anymore,” Iversen said.
Children’s Health Defense (CHD) on Jan. 13 released a documentary, “Fluoride on Trial: The Censored Science on Fluoride and Your Health,” in which Connett and CHD President Mary Holland discussed the suppression of scientific research revealing the toxic effects of fluoride, particularly on children.
Connett also spoke of that suppression with Iversen.
For example, when the National Toxicology Program’s (NTP) 1,573-page systematic review concluded that 64 out of 72 studies showed a link between fluoride and lowered IQ, dental officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Cranial Facial Research put pressure on the U.S. Department of Human Services assistant secretary of health, Dr. Rachel Levine, to prevent the review from being published.
Levine told the NTP to not publish the report but to put it on hold and allow for further review.
‘You don’t need to swallow it’
Although other chemicals like chlorine are added to public water for water treatment purposes, fluoride is the only chemical that’s added for medical purposes — in this case, to prevent dental cavities in the people who drink the water, Connett said.
Water fluoridation was “a U.S.-born program,” he told Iversen. Europe looked into the idea of adding fluoride to water to prevent cavities but decided against it — because it violates people’s right to informed consent.
“Europe said, you don’t add a medicine to the water because it takes away the individual’s right to make their own health decisions, informed consent. And Europe — as in the United States — certainly has plenty of fluoride products on the shelves like toothpaste that anyone can go to the pharmacy or the grocery store and buy.”
Connett said research shows that fluoride can be used to prevent dental cavities by applying it to teeth. “You don’t need to swallow it.”
Could other substances be added to our water?
Iversen said she was worried about the U.S. government possibly putting other harmful “medicines” in the public water supply. “I will take a medication if I want to take a medication, stay out of it,” she said.
Connett said it would be illegal for the federal government to do that since the Safe Drinking Water Act, a federal statute enforced by the EPA, specifically prohibits the EPA from requiring the addition of medicine to the water supply.
Why doesn’t that apply to fluoride?
“Because it’s not the federal government that’s doing it,” Connett said. “The EPA can’t do it, but local health boards can do it [put medicine in the water supply]. State governments can do it, but the EPA can’t.”
“What a loophole,” Iversen said. “How is that even possible? So I can be poisoned by my mayor. I just can’t be poisoned by my president.”
Where does the fluoride come from?
Connett and Iversen discussed where fluoride that’s added to U.S. communities’ water comes from.
Although recently more has been imported from China, most fluoride historically came from air pollution control scrubbers used in central Florida’s phosphate fertilizer industry, Connett said:
“They had a massive fluoride pollution problem in the 1950s — crippled cattle, scorched vegetation, lots of liability. They then put air pollution control scrubbers on their smokestacks, which trapped the fluoride, [and] created a sort of fluoride acidic liquor called hydro-fluorosilicic acid.
“That’s barreled up and shipped around the country and metered into our water supply.”
Trial launched after EPA denies petition
The lead plaintiff in this week’s fluoride trial, Fluoride Action Network (FAN), along with other organizations in 2017 sued the EPA after the agency denied a petition asking it to ban the addition of fluoridation chemicals to public water supplies due to neurological risks.
Other plaintiffs in the suit include the consumer advocacy groups Food & Water Watch and Moms Against Fluoridation, and public health groups such as the American Academy of Environmental Medicine and the International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology.
Several individuals representing themselves and/or their children also are plaintiffs.