Over 7000 environmental and public health professionals from the Civil Service are represented by eleven EPA employee unions calling for a moratorium on fluoridation programs across the nation, and they are demanding that the EPA management recognize fluoride as a serious cancer risk. In response to revelations that the Harvard School of Dental Medicine covered up evidence linking fluoridation to a higher risk of fatal bone cancer in young boys, the unions acted. In letters to key Congressional committees, the unions urged Congress to impose a moratorium until all scientific evidence on fluoridation’s risks and benefits has been reviewed. This letter cites the weight of evidence that fluoride is likely a carcinogen for humans, including epidemiological results similar to those of the Harvard study, animal studies, and biological reasons why fluoride might cause osteosarcoma – bone cancer – in young boys and test animals.
According to the unions, Richard Maas of the Environment Quality Institute, University of North Carolina, has also linked the use of silicofluoride fluoridating agents with chloramines disinfectants to increased lead levels in drinking water systems.
EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson was requested to issue an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to warn the public pending a recommendation from a National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council committee, setting the health-based drinking water standard for fluoride at zero, just as it is for all known or probable human carcinogens. It is unlikely that the committee will be finished working by 2006.
Congress and the Department of Justice were also asked to investigate why Chester Douglass failed to report the sevenfold increase in risk seen in the Harvard study he oversaw. In reply, the unions wrote to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, which funded the Harvard study, stating that fluoridation had no relation to osteosarcoma. According to Douglass, the National Research Council committee examining possible changes to EPA fluoride standards received the same negative report. Laboratories in Ohio, Oklahoma and Michigan are represented by the unions that signed the letters, as are scientists at the EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C., regulatory support scientists in Washington, D.C., and science and regulatory workers in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and San Francisco.
They’re all members of the National Treasury Employees Union, the American Federation of Government Employees, and the California Engineering and Science Federation/International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers.
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