Issue Date: February 28, 2011
Regulatory Overreach On Fluoride
I support the Environmental Protection Agency—at least the concept of “environmental protection.” Unfortunately, the actions of EPA often protect neither the environment nor its inhabitants, but appear instead to represent some sort of internal competition to score legal points, or perhaps placate some nonscientific activists who may otherwise sue EPA.
A clear example of lawyer-science is the proposed ban on the use of the pesticide sulfuryl fluoride (SO2F2) on stored food (C&EN, Jan. 17, page 8). The reason? Some children are exposed to excessive amounts of the fluoride ion from fluoridated water plus toothpaste, and perhaps additives to foods, and suffer discolored teeth. The Food Quality Protection Act bans aggregate excess and forbids even the tiniest addition from a pesticide. No regional or local variations are considered.
Sulfuryl fluoride is extremely resistant to hydrolysis and could not contribute any burden of fluoride to foods. EPA is already considering lowering the fluoride limit for drinking water. By merely reducing it further by 0.01% they could protect everyone from all of the fluoride ion they might encounter by gorging themselves on treated stored food. Lawyer-science together with legislator-science and regulator-science wastes our human and financial resources that are needed for real environmental threats.
George Van Dyke Tiers
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