Fluoride and Fluorinated Pesticides
Fluoride Action Network Pesticide Project
Ellen Connet
t, Director

The only online database for fluoride and fluorinated pesticides.
For data on pesticides beginning with


Sufuryl fluoride UPDATE:

EPA selected sulfuryl fluoride for a registration review and and has released several new documents, including a new Human Health Risk Assessment for public comment.
• See FAN's Submission to EPA on August 24, 2009

On June 10, Dow AgroSciences petitioned EPA for a 3-year Experimental Use Permit for a first-time use of sulfuryl fluoride as a pre-plant fumigant.
• See FAN's submission of July 10.

-- The Sierra Club organized a sign-on petition to EPA to deny the permit on the basis that sulfuryl fluoride has 4,780 times the global warming impact of carbon dioxide.

-- July 13: Dow Pitching New Pesticide That Doubles as an Extraordinarily Potent Greenhouse Gas (Press release from Pesticide Action Network)

The Campaign Against Sulfuryl Fluoride

Molecular structure of sulfuryl fluoride
Produced exclusively by Dow AgroSciences

Three groups -Fluoride Action Network, Environmental Working Group, Beyond Pesticides- are challenging US EPA on its approval of sulfuryl fluoride as a food fumigant (trade name ProFume®). The groups are represented, pro-bono, by Zelle, Hofmann, Voelbel, Mason & Gette's attorney Perry E. Wallace, Esq., a law professor at American University. The groups have submitted three formal Objections and Requests for an Evidentiary Hearing (2002, 2004, 2005).

Documents on Sulfuryl Fluoride -- This compilation represents most of the essential documents that pertain to the groups' Objections to sulfuryl fluoride tolerances. A tolerance is the legal amount of a pesticide residue allowed in and/or on specific foods.

Below are the most recent documents:

JANUARY 17, 2007. Memorandum to USEPA, Legal Standard for Grant of Hearings on Objections under Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act Section 408. This was submitted by the group's attorney, Perry Wallace, Esq., in response to Dow AgroSciences October 31, 2006, submission to USEPA, that argued against EPA granting an evidentiary hearing.

• NOVEMBER 2006. At the request of EPA, the groups submitted a consolidation of their Objections. This submission is the most succinct representation of the groups' arguments for EPA to grant them an evidentiary hearing.

• JUNE 2006. The groups submittted a Petition to US EPA to revoke all tolerances for the use of sulfuryl fluoride (ProFume®) as a food fumigant. This Petition was in response to the finding by the National Research Council's report (Fluoride in Drinking Water) that the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) of 4 ppm fluoride in drinking water was not protective of human health. EPA used this MCLG in its health risk assessments on the basis that it was "safe."

AUGUST 2006. The Office of the NY State Attorney General submitted comments to EPA in support of the groups' Petition to stay sulfuryl fluoride tolerances.

US: List of all foods with fluoride pesticide residue tolerances - ( pdf version)

Phosphate Fertilizer & Water Fluoridation
The primary use of phosphate rock is in the manufacture of phosphatic fertilizer. Phosphate fertilizers are produced by adding acid to ground or pulverized phosphate rock (ref) - either sulfuric or phosphoric acid. Significant quantities of fluoride (hydrogen fluoride and silicon tetrafluoride) are released in this process due to an estimated 2 to 4% of fluoride in the phosphate rock. These fluorides are captured in the pollution control "scrubbers." Hydrofluorosilicic acid is the waste product from the "scrubbers" that is used to fluoridate approximately 90% of US public drinkng water systems.

FYI: "Phosphate rock contains radionuclides in concentrations that are 10 to 100 times the radionuclide concentration found in most natural material. Most of the radionuclides consist of uranium and its decay products. Some phosphate rock also contains elevated levels of thorium and its daughter products. The specific radionuclides of significance include uranium-238, uranium-234, thorium-230, radium-226, radon-222, lead-210, and polonium-210. (Ref). Trace levels of these radionuclides and several heavy metals will be in the hydrofluorosilicic acid added to public drinking water systems. For more info, see phosphate fertilizer industry


• Dec 4, 2007: Hawaii's Department of Agriculture says fipronil killed bees in Moloa's, Kauai.

• July 11, 2007 - EPA failed to consider the "high" toxicity to bees by contact (not dietary) exposure to the insecticide Indoxacarb when it approved approximately 130 new food tolerances. (See EPA's Fact sheet on Indoxacarb for toxicity to bees, pp 14-15). Indoxacarb is a potent neurotoxiicant. On July 23, FAN asked EPA for its reasons why it didn't consider indoxacarb's effects on bees. Also, a 2005 study reported that indoxacarb was harmful to the Asian lady beetle, which is considered a beneficial insect in agriculture.

• May 28, 2007 -
Neonicotinoids, such as fluorinated fipronil, a suspect in honeybee colony collapse disorder.

Catastrophic Bee Colongy Collapse may not be affecting organic hives. Researchers are struggling to find the causes of this mysterious collapse. A crucial element of this story, missing from reports in the mainstream media, is the fact that organic beekeepers across North America are not experiencing devastating colony collapses...
SEE: "Organic Bees Are Thriving While Pesticide Intensive Conventional Bee Hive Colonies Are Collapsing." Note from FAN: The media reports that intensive tests are underway to find the source of the honeybee "colony collapse disorder." Theories for this devastating collapse range from the use of pesticides to cell phones. If it were a neurotoxic pesticide (disrupting the neurons that enable bees to find home) it would have to be in wide-spread use across the country. Some have mentioned the rise in cell phone use: radiation from mobile phones may interfere with the bees' navigation systems.

Fluoride Pesticides

The concern centers on the fluoride ion's toxicity, persistence, and bioaccumulation in humans, wildlife, and soil. The main pesticides are:

Cryolite: (sodium aluminum fluoride) - mainly used on grapes, fruits, and potatoes. EPA allows fluoride tolerances of 7 ppm, except for kiwifruit, which has a residue tolerance of 15 ppm.

Sulfuryl fluoride is the most immediate and important pesticide issue for the FAN Pesticide Project. This acutely toxic fumigant received its first-time approval for use on stored food commodities (raw and processed) in the US in January 2004. This approval allows the highest levels of fluoride residue levels in food in the history of the EPA. FAN, together with Beyond Pesticides, submitted formal objections to EPA on this approval (see press release). See the food tolerances approved and petitioned for as of July 15, 2005.

Sodium fluoride - its only known use is in wood preservatives(railroad ties and utility poles). However, sodium fluoride was used as a "List 4 Inert" until USEPA revoked that use in September 2005. Prior to its revocation, sodium fluoride, as a "List 4 Inert," was
approved for use in the US National Organic Program administered by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). In 2000, approximately 125 individuals contacted USDA requesting that the use of sodium fluoride be denied in organic agriculture - all to no avail. UPDATE: On October 10, 2007, USEPA released a series of documents in preparation for a final risk assessment.

Fluorinated Pesticides

The majority of the pesticides in our data base are fluorinated. We had used the term "organofluorine" to describe organic pesticides containing fluorine in their chemical formula. However, this term is not precise, as the majority of pesticides contain other halogens, primarily chlorine. Seven pesticides in our data base contain three halogens in their chemical formula: fluorine, bromine, and chlorine.
The toxicity of the fluorinated compound is not due to the release of a free fluoride ion, but to the particular molecular structure of the compound. From our research to date it appears that fluorinated pesticides intensify pesticidal and biological activity.
Animal studies available on pesticides with fluorine + bromine in their chemical formula consistently report severe brain effects.

The journal FLUORIDE = essential reading
Published quarterly by the International Society for Fluoride Research (ISFR).
SUBSCRIPTION FEE: US$51, Canadian$63, £28, Japan„5500, €42, Australian$66, New Zealand$72, with a 10% discount for New Zealand.
CONTACT: Dr Bruce Spittle <spittle@es.co.nz>



Read & search the National Research Council report on the toxicity of fluoride

Suggestions for reducing exposure to fluoride

August 2009: More than 2,600 Professionals Call for an End to Water Fluoridation
If you agree, please sign

On June 11, 2007, USEPA released the first list of chemicals selected for its Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program: they are 64 pesticide chemicals and 9 "high production volume" (HPV) chemicals used as pesticide inerts. See the 6 fluorinated pesticides included in the list.

State and County Water Fluoridation Info
Scroll down to My Water's Fluoride -- includes levels in each communities' drinking water system.

November 2005 - EPA's new National Pesticide Information Retrieval System (NPIRS): http://ppis.ceris.purdue.edu/


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Fluoride Action Network | Pesticide Project | 315-379-9200 | pesticides@fluoridealert.org