Sat. May 25th, 2024

By Carol Boodwin Blick – September 20, 2023

Friends, Fluoride Action Network (FAN) Director Stuart Cooper provides this update on the status
of our federal EPA fluoridation lawsuit:

1. We’re just over four months away from the January 29th, 2024 start
date of the final phase of our federal lawsuit against the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the neurotoxicity of
fluoridation chemicals.

The Court has scheduled two weeks to hear testimony and
cross-examination of expert witnesses focused on new evidence and
science published since the last trial dates in 2020, including the
National Toxicology Program’s 6-year systematic review of fluoride’s
effect on the developing brain. In the meantime, the final depositions
are being conducted by FAN’s attorneys, and expert witnesses for both
the plaintiffs and defendants have been selected and are currently
preparing.

The Court is expected to make a ruling following this final phase of the
trial.

2. Mark your calendars: we’re a month away from the next trial status
hearing on Tuesday, October 17th, at 2:30 PM (Pacific) / 5:30 PM
(Eastern). We’ll send out a reminder with the Zoom information as we get
closer to the hearing.

At the most recent status hearing held in July, very little was
discussed, though the judge did ask attorneys an important question. He
asked if they had a preference for whether the last phase of the trial
should be held in person in the Federal Courthouse in San Francisco or
virtually via Zoom like the first phase of the trial.

An in person trial could create travel complications for some expert
witnesses, increase costs substantially for both parties, and severely
restrict the number of people able to watch the proceedings.

Attorney Michael Connett, representing FAN, stated that we would prefer
the trial be by Zoom to better accommodate international experts and to
allow greater viewing access for the public. However, while attorneys
for the EPA admitted that the Zoom format worked surprisingly well
during the first phase of the trial, they stated–without
explanation-–that their preference would be for an in person trial with
limited public viewing.

The judge shared FAN’s preference for a virtual trial and plans to
proceed via Zoom unless otherwise directed by updates to the federal
court system guidelines. This is another win for FAN, as well as for the
public that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and EPA clearly don’t want
watching the trial.

3. The NTP report on fluoride’s developmental neurotoxicity has yet to
be published and it’s unclear when or if it will actually be published.
The date of its publication won’t impact the trial because the judge
previously stated that he’s willing to move forward in January using the
final unpublished version that is publicly available and was unanimously
approved by the NTP’s Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC) in May.

While the BSC recommended that the NTP publish the State of the Science
report themselves and have a medical journal publish the meta-analysis
as soon as possible, evidence obtained by FAN through the Freedom of
Information Act indicates that the decision for final publication will
likely be political rather than science-based and made by Assistant
Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine, rather than the NTP Director,
Dr. Rick Woychik.

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