Capitol Hill’s most powerful special interests resorted again to underhanded tactics.
Today, the Senate passed the $1 trillion dollar Farm Bill with a vote of 68 to 32 (the House gave its approval last Wednesday). As you may recall, the most recent version of this cumbersome bill had serious ramifications for farmers, GMO labeling, and consumer access to locally sourced foods.
What that earlier version didn’t have was an amendment that will expose Americans, and especially children, to dangerous amounts of fluoride residue—yet such an amendment was somehow snuck into the final, 949-page Farm Bill just forty-eight hours before it went to vote.
Section 10015, which was slipped in behind closed doors by Dow AgroScience’s lobbyists, overturns an EPA ruling that pesticide residues must be included in calculations of safe levels of fluoride exposure. By removing pesticide residues from the equation, this amendment almost guarantees that Americans will be exposed to higher levels of toxic fluoride, while thinking they’re consuming safe levels.
Let’s keep a few facts in mind. The EPA’s Union of Scientists have warned about the toxicity of fluoride (1999). So has the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science (2006). So have researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (2012).
The latter group reported a significant drop in children’s IQ level from fluoride exposure, on top of all the other health issues including cancer. Even the US Department of Health and Human Services finally admitted in 2009 that fluoride levels in public water should be reduced.
And why is fluoride being forced on people? Supposedly to reduce tooth decay, but xylitol, a natural fruit sugar, is at least as effective for that. Meanwhile, we don’t get a choice about whether this waste product of the aluminum industry is added to our drinking water.
Are you unhappy to hear about how this fluoride friendly provision that had no place in this bill? Dow—one of DC’s most powerful special interests that spent over $10.5 million dollars on lobbying in 2013 alone—knew you would be. They knew that you would call and message your legislators until they stripped the fluoride amendment from the Farm Bill. That’s why they waited until the last minute and resorted to underhanded tactics—they’re scared of what activists like you can accomplish.
After all, you did win three big victories for the natural health community:
- The King Amendment. Perhaps the most crucial concession won was the removal of the unconstitutional King Amendment (a.k.a. the Interstate Commerce Amendment), which violated states rights and could have unraveled hard-won GMO labeling and animal rights laws. You called and wrote and harangued until that provision was dropped. Well done!
- More FDA Oversight. The final bill includes Section 11321, which will force the agency at least to study how new Food Safety Modernization Act rules could hurt small farms. This amendment helps shield family farmers from FDA overreach and could help protect consumer choice, as it’s less likely that farmers will be forced to either shut down or raise prices to implement expensive FDA regulations.
- No Shield for Big Ag. The final Farm Bill does not contain Section 1613, which would have prevented any government agency from disclosing any “information provided by a producer or owner of agricultural land concerning the agricultural operation.” Essentially, this would have outlawed the reporting of Big Farma’s most dangerous “oopsies,” including GMO crop contamination, antibiotic abuse, and livestock disease outbreaks.
The Farm Bill is just a taste of the legislative battles we’ll face in 2014. Stay tuned as we tackle this year’s toughest challenges, including the IRS attack on free speech, Senator Durbin’s Anti-Supplement Zombie Bill (it just won’t die!), and the next draft of the NDI guidance. The fight has just begun!