Another Extension Demanded

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PO Box 2276, Lynnwood, Washington  98036-2276
Telephone 425-771-1110, Fax 425-776-8081


April 14, 2011


Kathleen Sebelius
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CWF Comments, Division of Oral Health,
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP)
4770 Buford Highway, NE, MS F-10
Atlanta, GA 30341-3717.


Also sent by fax to: 202-690-7203
Delivered by email to:
To make it easier to follow links, read a web version of this letter at:


Dear Ms. Sebelius,

I am writing to supplement the comments I sent to you in my letter dated February 13, 2011. I am writing generally in connection with the HHS proposal to recommend fluoridation at the .7 ppm level. A copy of my February 13 letter is attached for your convenience.

The reason why I wrote you on February 13 was to point out that your published request for comment was seriously defective and to demand an extension for the public to respond. You granted my request and extended the comment date to April 15. Thank you.

I am sorry to report that your request for comment is still seriously defective. You are going to have to extend the deadline again.

I refer first to this HHS News Release page:

On News Release page I find the following bad link:

This is the same bad link that was on this page back on January 13 and which I pointed out at that time. Apparently no one has updated this web page in the last two months.

From the HHS Press Release page there is a link to a pre-publication preliminary version of the HHS recommendations:
Proposed HHS Recommendation for Fluoride Concentration in Drinking Water for Prevention of Dental Caries

On the Proposed HHS Recommendations page I find the same bad link:

This is the same bad link that was on this page back on January 13 and which I pointed out at that time.

On none of the above pages is there any link at all to the actual “Proposed HHS Recommendation for Fluoride Concentration in Drinking Water for Prevention of Dental Caries”, where the actual notice is posted:
and no advice to go to page 2383.

There is no link to the specific pages in the Federal Register where the actual notice is posted, which specific pages are excerpted here:

Worst of all, there is no link on the HHS website to the Federal Register page which extends the due date for comment from February 14 to April 15.

A person looking at any of your web pages would not know that the due date for comment has been extended to April 15.

There are people who have attempted to make comments on this important issue but who have been misled by your bad links, misstatements, omissions, poor web site editing, and general negligence and who have been unable to respond.

Giving proper notice to those who would comment is fundamental to due process. As in January you are failing to make a legally effective request for comment. Any decision you might make will be based on incomplete comments and will therefore be invalid.

HHS must extend its comment period again or be subject to accusations that it has made it difficult for interested parties to comment and has acted in bad faith.

All in all, this comment procedure has been handled badly. A substantial extension should be granted. If it is not, HHS will lose all credibility. HHS could be exposed to legal liability.

I have sent a copy of this letter to the EPA. The EPA must extend its due date as well. Although EPA and HHS are separate agencies, on this proposal they are “linked at the hip”. HHS and EPA issued their requests for comments simultaneously.

HHS’s request for comment proposes an action, recommending a new .7 ppm fluoridation level. EPA’s request for comment does not include a specific recommendation. Instead it merely asks for reaction to certain documents it has put together regarding dental fluorosis and bone fracturing.

Although the two requests for comment differ, they still overlap completely and must be read and commented on jointly. The title of EPA’s News Release page is: “EPA and HHS Announce New Scientific Assessments and Actions on Fluoride / Agencies working together to maintain benefits of preventing tooth decay while preventing excessive exposure”.

The two requests are interdependent in other ways. For example, HHS’s News Release page has a link to EPA’s Fluoride Risk Assessment page.

Likewise, EPA’s News Release page includes a link to the HHS-CDC page entitled Community Water Fluoridation. EPA’s press release page contains a link to the Proposed HHS Recommendation page, which displays the bad link.

In my February 13 letter I pointed out that your system for receiving comments is flawed in other ways. There is an email address to which comments may be emailed, although there is no immediate mechanism to confirm HHS’s receipt of an emails. I made a comment to the FTA last year on a legal issue, and the FTA confirmed receipt and promptly posted my comment on its website. The advantages of the FTA method are twofold: The sender knows his comment has been received, and the discussion is improved because all can get feedback about what others are saying. Your March 9 response to my February 13 letter did not address these objections and suggestions.

In my February 13 letter I pointed out further that although there is a physical address to which comments can be mailed, there is no fax number posted on the HHS site to which comments can be faxed. There are some people, often older people – among those most adversely affected by fluoride – who have fax machines but no computers or no scanners. Again your March 9 response to my February 13 letter did not address these objections and suggestions.

I am therefore demanding that both HHS and EPA extend their comment period on water fluoridation and correct all the errors on their web sites. If HHS and EPA fail to follow proper notice procedures, they could be subject to suit.

I will still submit comments on substantive issues to HHS by April 15 and to EPA by April 19, but I reserve the right to supplement them because of the serious procedural errors which HHS and EPA have made.


James Robert Deal, Attorney
WSBA #8103


Copy sent to:
Lisa P. Jackson, Administrator
Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20004
Also sent by email to:
Also sent by fax to: 202-501-1450