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Human and Animal Cancer Evidence Prompts Review of Fluoride.

California EPA Committee Designates Fluoride as Priority for Review for Public Warnings about Risk of Cancer to Consumers

SAN DIEGO -- On May 29, 2009, over protests by the lobbyists for the American Dental Association and the Personal Care Products Council who oppose further evaluation of fluoride as cancer-causing, the State's Qualified Experts that comprise the Carcinogen Identification Committee, as advisors to California EPA's Office of Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), never-the-less established fluoride and its salts as meriting the highest priority they can recommend for further review toward including fluorides on a Prop 65 list of chemicals for which warnings for risks of cancer, birth defects, and reproductive toxicity are to be publicly posted.

Citing the passage of two pre-screenings that acknowledged the existence of animal and human cancer evidence, as well as widespread exposure, this recommendation places fluoride and its salts as one of the first of 38 chemicals that also passed at least one of the tests to be newly prioritized for Hazard Identification materials preparation.

This hazard identification process is similar to a risk assessment performed to establish a scientific point of safety for lifetime ingestion that is ordered by the Safe Drinking Water Act for chemicals in the water, with the exception that this process will evaluate fluorides from all exposures and restricts the assessment to only the risks of cancer, rather than all adverse heath effects.

Proposition 65 was enacted by voters of California in 1986 to assure that warnings of cancer, birth defects, and reproductive risks are publicly noticed so that consumers and workers are informed of the presence of such chemicals in the posted location, or of their inclusion in products, so that individuals may better control exposures and protections for themselves.

Prop 65 warnings are commonly seen at gas stations and dry cleaning establishments for environmental exposures to the chemicals present, and bars and restaurants that serve alcohol for products that may be ingested and cause birth defects or reproductive harm.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), another fluoride compound, was also separately recommended for the highest priority review.

PFOAs, while technically referring to a class of surfactants, are most commonly recognized by laypersons for their non-stick and non-penetration qualities, which are the basis and sister-chemicals of such products as Scotchgard, Teflon and GoreTex. Some of these products are now to be phased out of production, and restricted in future production, despite their high profitability.

Ranging from water and oil repellants, to non-stain carpets and couches, to waxed paper, this chemical class is listed as used in aircraft production processes, electronic products, personal care products, and thought to be essential in the automotive, chemical, medical, packaging and building/construction industries. Dupont, the primary producer of PFOAs, opposed the recommendation for priority review.

Chemicals that received a lower priority ranking are not expected to receive a timely review.

A summary of the chemical prioritizations can now be accessed at:

The Comment on Fluoride and Its Salts produced by Kathleen Thiessen, PhD, of SENES Oak Ridge, Center for Risk Analysis, on behalf of IAOMT can be accessed on OEHHA's web site:
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 9, 2009
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