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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1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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