A Maryland resident has sued companies that make bottled water and baby food products containing fluoride, alleging that her 13-year-old daughter consumed these products from infancy and now has permanent teeth disfigured with dental fluorosis, a condition purportedly linked to the excessive consumption of fluoride. Nemphos v. Nestlé USA, Inc., No. 11-2423 (U.S. Dist. Ct., D. Md., filed August 30, 2011). According to the complaint, the defendants failed to provide dose control over fluoride exposure sources and failed to warn consumers about the alleged risks of fluoride.
Alleging strict liability, negligence, breach of implied warranties, fraud, and negligent infliction of emotional distress, the plaintiff seeks compensatory, special, punitive, and triple damages; attorney’s fees; costs; and interest. According to news sources, the plaintiff’s daughter needs dental veneers to cover the damage, and the veneers will have to be replaced four or five times throughout her life at a cost of more than $100,000. Plaintiff’s counsel has reportedly said that his client told him, “I thought I was doing the right thing for my daughter when she was a child, by giving her bottled water that contained fluoride. Her teeth have now been permanently damaged by fluorosis. She is extremely self-conscious about her smile. Her friends ask her about her teeth. And now we’re faced with extensive cosmetic restorations.” The Lillie Center, a Georgia-based organization that advocates for the removal of fluoride from municipal water systems, has characterized the lawsuit as precedent-setting. See Fluoride Action Network and Lillie Center Press Release, September 21, 2011.