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Fluoride, Deemed Toxic by Harvard Doctor, Under Fire in U.S. Federal Court
The legal community's interest in the long-smoldering controversy over fluoride use is growing as the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to hear arguments in the fluoride harm case of Nemphos v. Nestle Waters.
The case centers around “dental fluorosis," a disfigurement of teeth, caused by childhood ingestion of fluorides in water and other products, according to the New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation.
The plaintiff in the Nemphos case is a mother who purchased fluoride-containing products for her daughter, believing she was helping her child avoid cavities. The mother claims she was not warned about fluorosis, which eventually disfigured her child's teeth.
Major dental organizations continue to promote use of fluorides, claiming the fluorosis stains are mostly barely visible and fit in a designation of “mild” or “very mild.”
“The so-called ‘mild’ fluorosis of the Nemphos girl is certainly not barely visible,” said Daniel Stockin, a career public health professional opposed to water fluoridation. “The fluorosis classification system used by dentists hides the severity of it. The system specifically tells dentists to ignore an individual’s worst fluoride-stained tooth in classifying a person’s fluorosis severity, and the system does not take into account the total number of teeth affected. Twelve teeth or two teeth with stains, both are allowed to be called ‘very mild’ or ‘mild’ fluorosis. This revelation will be deeply disturbing to citizens and elected leaders who were misled about fluorosis.”
The Washington D.C.-based law firm Public Justice, with its more than 3,000 affiliated attorneys, has joined other plaintiff firms to help argue the case.
“There are a lot of harmed people out there that were not told the facts about fluorides, nor have they seen documentation of what dental leaders knew and admitted amongst themselves about fluorosis,” said attorney Chris Nidel.
“Fluoride providers and promoters are now under the microscope as the Fluoridegate scandal unfolds,” he added. “In their own publications, dentists warned of a day when fluoride litigation would arrive.”
Nidel’s law firm and the firm of Paulson and Nace have been with the case from the start. Public Justice is adding its expertise to argue that lawyers representing Nestle Waters cannot use federal laws to negate state legal actions on fluoride harm.
An article in the Journal of Dental Research acknowledged increasing amounts of fluorosis, calling it undesirable and saying it “places dental professionals at an increased risk of litigation."
It places advertisers at risk too as Public Justice states:
Advertising like Nestle’s and Dannon’s, which [persuade] consumers to purchase a product by touting an ingredient’s benefits without warning of that same ingredient’s known hazards, is generally prohibited by state and consumer protection laws. Those laws allow wronged consumers to sue for injuries the product caused.
“Fluorides are a concern for both young children and college students and others,” said Stockin. “For parents of young children, fluorosis on their child’s teeth can mean financial costs in the future, and of course they wonder what other harm has also occurred, such as impact on kidneys, thyroid glands, bones and even IQ. So I think perhaps it’s not surprising that what consumers are hearing about fluorides from product sellers is changing.”
In a related development, advertisements seeking out students with dental fluorosis are beginning to pop up in newspapers at universities like The Hoya at Georgetown University.
The ads feature photos of dental fluorosis-stained teeth and inform students that those with tooth damage may be entitled to monetary damages.
In February, fluoride joined the likes of lead, arsenic, methylmercury, toluene and other chemicals known to damage brain tissue, reports the Fluoride Action Network (FAN).
In the March 2014 journal Lancet Neurology, the highly prevalent chemical was reclassified as a developmental neurotoxin by medical authorities.
The authors, Dr. Philippe Grandjean of the Harvard School of Public Health and Dr. Philip Landrigan of the Icahn School of Medicine write, “A meta-analysis of 27 cross-sectional studies of children exposed to fluoride in drinking water, mainly from China, suggests an average IQ decrement of about seven points in children exposed to raised fluoride concentrations.”
The majority of these 27 studies had water fluoride levels of less than four milligrams per liter, which falls under the allowable level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Developmental neurotoxins, which are capable of causing widespread brain disorders such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and learning disabilities, often cause untreatable and permanent damage.
Grandjean and Landrigan write, “Our very great concern is that children worldwide are being exposed to unrecognized toxic chemicals that are silently eroding intelligence, disrupting behaviors, truncating future achievements and damaging societies, perhaps most seriously in developing countries.”
Visit EcoWatch’s and HEALTH pages for more related news on this topic.
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By Carey Gillam
Former Monsanto Chairman and CEO Hugh Grant will have to testify in person at a St. Louis-area trial set for January in litigation brought by a cancer-stricken woman who claims her disease was caused by exposure to the company's Roundup herbicide and that Monsanto covered up the risks instead of warning consumers.
A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.
"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."
The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.
My god, White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted today for first time since 2001. My family and I had gotten off it 20 minutes before, were waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it. Boat ride home tending to people our boat rescued was indescribable. #whiteisland pic.twitter.com/QJwWi12Tvt— Michael Schade (@sch) December 9, 2019
Michael Schade / Twitter
At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.
The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.
Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.
"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."
Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.
Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.
"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.
"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."
The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.
Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.
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