Fluoride Lawsuit Could Impact Water Treatment Industry

Fluoride Lawsuit Could Impact Water Treatment Industry

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A lawsuit challenging the use of fluoride treatment in drinking water systems could have a far-reaching impact for utilities around the nation.

For as long as fluoride has been in use as a municipal water additive aimed at improving dental health, there have been people arguing against it by pointing out its alleged links to certain health defects. Most recently in 2016, a coalition of health advocates petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to ban fluoride use in drinking water. After the EPA denied that request, the coalition sued, arguing fluoride poses an “unacceptable risk” under the agency’s own risk assessment policy.

U.S. District Judge Edward M. Chen of the Northern District of California heard arguments from both sides in November about whether the plaintiffs have standing to sue, but didn’t say when a decision would come, according to Bloomberg Environment.

The EPA is seeking an immediate end to the suit, while the advocacy groups want a ruling by the judge claiming fluoride poses an unnecessary risk to public health, which would necessitate regulation by the EPA. If no summary ruling occurs, a trial is slated to begin Feb. 3.

In the event that the suit goes to trial and a court decides fluoride is unsafe, new EPA regulations would impact some drinking water treatment facilities. In addition, some argue that other advocacy groups could see this route — filing a petition with the EPA asking for rule changes — as an easier way to get regulations changed as opposed to the currently mandated risk management process.

For more information about the case, Food & Water Watch v. EPA, click here for the court docket.


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