EPA Rejects Fluoride Petition Under TSCA

Under Section 21 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), any person can petition EPA to initiate a rulemaking to issue, amend, or repeal a rule or order under TSCA.  The petition must provide facts to support the action requested.  A TSCA section 21 petition was received from the Fluoride Action Network, Food & Water Watch, Organic Consumers Association, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, and other individual petitioners.  The general object of the petition was to urge 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 requested that EPA exercise its authority under TSCA section 6 to ‘‘prohibit the purposeful addition of fluoridation chemicals to U.S. water supplies.’’
In the Federal Register notice, EPA stated that it denied the petition, “primarily because EPA concluded 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.”  EPA also denied the petition because, rather than comprehensively addressing fluoride chemical use as required in a Section 6 rule, the petition only requested EPA to take action on a single use in water fluoridation.
Please see the February 27, 2017 Federal Register notice for a more complete discussion of the petition request and EPA’s rationale for the denial.