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St. Lawrence University Professor of Chemistry Paul H. Connett, an outspoken opponent of the practice of adding fluoride to water supplies, recently gave a presentation on the topic to the National Research Council (NRC), which is reviewing current regulations on the chemical.

The NRC has been asked by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a review of the EPA's maximum contaminant level for fluoride; the last such review was done in 1993. As part of the review, the NRC's committee held a meeting at which a variety of experts were invited to give presentations. Connett was the only fluoride opponent to be invited.

The NRC is part of the National Academies, which also comprise the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine. They are private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology and health policy advice under a congressional charter. The NRC was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of further knowledge and advising the federal government.

Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the NRC has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public and the scientific and engineering communities. The NRC is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine through the National Research Council Governing Board.

Early in September, a group headed by Connett, Fluoride Action Alert, issued a joint statement from a number of scientists and organized a petition drive "urging governments promoting fluoridation to 'bring some integrity into the debate.'" It will be published in the October issue of The Ecologist.

Posted: September 2, 2003