California Advances Identification of Fluoride as a Carcinogen

California EPA committee designates fluoride as a priority for review for public warnings about risk of cancer to consumers


News Release  June 5, 2009
On May 29, 2009, over protests by lobbyists for the American Dental Association and the Personal Care Products Council, the Carcinogen Identification Committee of California EPA’s Office of Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) named fluoride and its salts to its list of chemicals slated for highest-priority review as a cancer causing agent.  The review will be a critical step toward possible inclusion of 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 evidence, as well as widespread exposure, this recommendation places fluoride and its salts on the list along with 37 other chemicals slated for a high priority Hazard Identification process. Evidence presented to the committee included a scientific review by Kathleen Theissen, PhD, which was funded by IAOMT.

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 the public is notified of the presence of substances known to the State of California to pose a risk of cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm in products or locations.  Prop 65 warnings are commonly seen at gas stations and dry cleaning establishments warning of environmental exposures to the chemicals present, and bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.

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

PFOAs are most commonly used to produce surfactants (in layman’s terms, non-stick and non-penetration), which are the basis of such products as Scotchgard (In 2000, maker 3M announced it is to be phased out of the market), Teflon (restricted in future production), and GoreTex.

Ranging from water and oil repellants, to stain resistant fabrics, 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 be accessed at:

       Contact: Jeff Green
       Citizens for Safe Drinking Water
       (800) 728-3833

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3 Responses to “California Advances Identification of Fluoride as a Carcinogen”

  1. San Diego Farmgirl Says:

    Do you think we’ll ever get the flouride taken back out of our tap?

  2. Dave Short Says:

    Good site, well presented information.

  3. Wladek Binkiewicz Says:

    If fluoride is carcinogenic why the government put it in the drinking water and allow it’s use in dentistry?

    Wladek from London

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