The EPA Rejects Anti-Fluoride Petition

Posted & filed under Fluoride in the News.

For the past 15 years, Bill Hirzy has attacked community water fluoridation. When he first began this crusade, he worked for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This year, Hirzy (no longer an EPA employee) worked from the outside and filed a petition with the agency, asking it to prohibit a form of fluoride called Hydrofluorosilicic Acid (HFSA). This type of fluoride is safely used every day in communities throughout the United States to supplement the fluoride that exists naturally in water and ensure the ideal level to protect people’s health. The EPA soundly rejected Hirzy’s petition.

This EPA decision reinforces the solid evidence backing the safety and effectiveness of fortifying water to achieve the optimal level of fluoridation. The EPA’s response makes clear that this petition is another example of anti-fluoride activists making arguments that are not backed by real science.

Let’s look at what the EPA said in its response:

• The EPA wrote that Hirzy “miscalculated” the net benefits of moving from HFSA to a different type of fluoride. This error, the agency wrote, overestimated the risk of HSFA by 70 times. After correcting this error, EPA reports that Hirzy’s analysis “actually indicates that the cost-benefit ratio is in favor of using HFSA.”

• Hirzy claimed that HSFA contains a level of arsenic that poses a risk to the public, but the EPA analyzed this assertion and found that the petitioners “have not set forth sufficient facts to establish that HFSA presents or will present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment” or that a new EPA rule is needed to protect the public.

• Hirzy alleged that HFSA contains lead, but the EPA pointed out that the petitioners “provided no data to support this assertion.”  Responding to the Hirzy claim that HFSA leaches lead from water pipes into drinking water, the EPA pointed to multiple studies showing that water fluoridated with HFSA “has little impact on corrosivity and/or release of metals from plumbing materials.”

On his blog, scientific researcher Ken Parrott discussed the EPA’s decision and wrote that “it would be nice” if anti-fluoride activists would stop spreading lies about fluoride. “But, going by past practice I am not going to hold my breath,” he said.