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EPA Denies Anti-Fluoride Petition

The EPA rejected a petition in August 2013 seeking to ban a form of fluoride that is commonly used to fluoridate drinking water, noting that petitioners lacked “sufficient facts” to support their case.

Tennessee Law Requires Public Notice

A Tennessee law enacted in 2012 requires local water systems to provide a minimum period of public notification before ceasing or starting fluoridation.

Scott v. Board of Election Commissioners of Newton

Case Name: 
Scott v. Board of Election Commissioners of Newton
Plaintiff: 
Wellington F. Scott
Defendant: 
Board of Election Commissioners of Newton
Other Parties: 
Harold M. Band
Citation: 

346 Mass. 388; 193 N.E.2d 262 (Mass. 1963)

Year: 
1963
Court Name: 
Supreme Judicial Court Massachusetts
Abstract: 

Plaintiffs sought to enjoin the Newton, Massachusetts Board of Election Commissioners (Board) from counting and tabulating votes on whether fluoridation of the public water supply should be discontinued. Plaintiffs argued that the measure was improperly on the ballot because the public water supply did not contain fluorine until, at the earliest, two days after the required number of signatures was filed with the Board. The Supreme Court of Massachusetts rejected plaintiffs’ argument, finding no intent on the part of the state to draw a fundamental distinction between “water supply is being fluoridated” and “it has been voted to fluoridate such supply.” The court also noted that the ascertainment of the will of the voters was informative only, and that the actual determination of whether to fluoridate was in the sole power of the appropriate municipal officers. The court affirmed the lower court’s decree and allowed the Board to count and tabulate the vote.

Opinion Judges: 
Wilkins CJ

Jacobson v. Massachusetts

Case Name: 
Jacobson v. Massachusetts
Plaintiff: 
Jacobson
Defendant: 
Massachusetts
Citation: 

197 U.S. 11 (U.S. 1905)

Year: 
1905
Court Name: 
Supreme Court of the United States
Abstract: 

Massachusetts state law provided that if a municipality determined that it was necessary for the public health or safety, it could require and enforce the vaccination and revaccination of all inhabitants over the age of twenty-one. Pursuant to the statute, the City of Cambridge adopted a regulation requiring its citizens to be vaccinated for small pox. Defendant refused the vaccine and was criminally charged. Defendant appealed the jury’s determination that he was guilty, arguing that his liberty was invaded when the state subjected him criminal punishment for refusing to submit to vaccination; that a compulsory vaccination law was unreasonable, arbitrary, and oppressive; and that the execution of such a law against one who objects to vaccination was an assault upon his person. The United States Supreme Court rejected defendant’s arguments, holding that the liberty secured by the United States Constitution does not import an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint. The Court found that the statute at issue was a valid exercise of the state’s police power to regulate the health and safety of its citizens.

Case Tags: 

Gorman v. City of New Bedford

Case Name: 
Gorman v. City of New Bedford
Plaintiff: 
Ruth Gorman
Defendant: 
City of New Bedford
Other Parties: 
Citizens of New Bedford, Massachusetts Dental Society
Citation: 

383 Mass. 57; 417 N.E.2d 433 (Mass. 1981)

Year: 
1981
Court Name: 
Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
Abstract: 

Pursuant to the requirements of the Home Rule Amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution, defendant city sought and obtained legislative authorization to conduct a vote during its municipal elections on the question of whether the city’s water supply should continue to be fluoridated. The election was held, and the vote was against continued fluoridation. Plaintiffs (1) challenged the lawfulness of the legislation, arguing that the Home Rule Amendment did not authorize special acts relating to local matters; (2) argued that the special legislation at issue suspended fluoridation laws in violation of the Massachusetts Constitution; and (3) claimed that the special legislation was an improper exemption of identifiable individuals from the requirements of state laws concerning fluoridation, in violation of the Massachusetts Constitution. The Supreme Court of Massachusetts rejected all of plaintiffs’ claims and upheld the City’s special legislation discontinuing fluoridation of the water supply.

Case Tags: 
Opinion Judges: 
Wilkins JJ

Board of Health of North Adams v. Mayor of North Adams

Case Name: 
Board of Health of North Adams v. Mayor of North Adams
Plaintiff: 
Board of Health of North Adams
Defendant: 
Mayor of North Adams
Citation: 

368 Mass. 554; 334 N.E.2d 34 (Mass. 1975)

Year: 
1975
Court Name: 
Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
Abstract: 

Local board of health (BOH) brought an action in trial court against the mayor and city council of North Adams, Massachusetts, to enforce the BOH’s order (issued pursuant to state law upon recommendation of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health) to make funds available to study and implement fluoridation of the city’s water supply. The trial court found in favor of the BOH. Defendants appealed the trial court’s judgment, arguing that: (1) the order was procedurally defective because the published notice differed from the board’s order; (2) the city provided water to roughly 275 connections in neighboring communities that had not agreed to the proposed fluoridation; (3) the form of the question put before the voters (pursuant to state law) was misleading and deprived voters of due process; and (4) the BOH had no power to compel the city council to appropriate money. The Supreme Court of Massachusetts rejected all of defendants’ arguments and affirmed the trial court’s judgment, finding that (1) the published notice did not differ materially from the BOH’s order; (2) the water supplied to connections in neighboring communities was incidental; (3) the question put to the voters did not deprive them of due process; and (4) pursuant to state law, the local BOH, acting on state recommendation, can “order” fluoridation, including appropriation of funds to achieve that purpose.

Opinion Judges: 
Kaplan

Chapman v. City of Shreveport

Case Name: 
Chapman v. City of Shreveport
Plaintiff: 
Chapman
Defendant: 
City of Shreveport
Citation: 

225 La. 859; 74 So. 2d 142 (La. 1954)

Year: 
1954
Court Name: 
Supreme Court of Louisiana
Abstract: 

Defendant City of Shreveport appeals the trial court’s preliminary injunction enjoining it from fluoridating the municipal water supply. The trial court determined that fluoridation of water is not a matter of public health, but a matter of private health and hygiene. The Supreme Court of Louisiana disagreed, holding that the fluoridation plan bore a reasonable relation to the general welfare and the general health of the community and was a valid exercise of the City’s power to promote these ideals.

Case Tags: 
State: 
Opinion Judges: 
Hawthorne

Attaya v. Town of Gonzales

Case Name: 
Attaya v. Town of Gonzales
Plaintiff: 
Henry E. Attaya, et al.
Defendant: 
Town of Gonzales, et al.
Citation: 

192 So. 2d 188 (La. Ct. App. 1966)

Year: 
1966
Court Name: 
Court of Appeal of Louisiana, First Circuit
Abstract: 

Plaintiff brought action against the Town of Gonzales seeking a preliminary injunction prohibiting and restraining the Town from fluoridating the municipal water supply. Plaintiff argued that the Town’s ordinance adopting fluoridation was procedurally defective and that the ordinance also violated his constitutional rights because the action was secretive, arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable. The court rejected plaintiff’s argument and upheld the Town’s ordinance.

State: 
Opinion Judges: 
Landry E

Graybeal v. McNevin

Case Name: 
Graybeal v. McNevin
Plaintiff: 
M.E. Graybeal et al.
Defendant: 
Christopher McNevin
Citation: 

439 S.W.2d 323 (Ky. Ct. Ap. 1969)

Year: 
1969
Court Name: 
Court of Appeals of Kentucky
Abstract: 

Plaintiff claimed that the board of health and the water company could not introduce fluoridation into the water supply because in doing so it violated the regulation on dispensing of drugs and the right to freedom of religion under the 14th Amendment. Appellant Court found that the plaintiff did not meet his burden of proof and that fluoridating public water supplies did not violate the 14th Amendment.

State: 
Opinion Judges: 
Hill EP

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Recent State and Local Action

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Missouri :: Ordinance :: Sullivan

Abstract: 

Sullivan's City Council passed Ordiance 3667, eliminating the city's fluoridation requirement, repealing Sullivan Code 705.050. 

See also James B. Bartle, Fluoridation Repealed In Sullivan, Three Ordinances Approved, Sullivan Independent News (June 2, 2015), available at http://www.mysullivannews.com/2015/06/fluoridation-repealed-in-sullivan-....

 

Last updated: June 19, 2015.  

 

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Michigan :: Ordinance :: West Branch

Abstract: 

On June 1, 2015, West Branch City Counsel voted 6-1 to increase water fluoridation levels to the state and Federal recommended 0.7 ppm. See Matt Varcak, "City votes to increase level of fluoride in the water," Ogemaw County Herald (June 1, 2015), available at http://www.ogemawherald.com/stories/City-votes-to-increase-level-of-fluoride-in-water,101683.   

 

Last updated June 19, 2015.

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New York :: Administrative Code

Abstract: 

The additions to the New York Public Health Code prevent jurisdictions already participating in water fluoridation from ceasing their program without first providing a notice to the public and a ninety-day comment period.

Citation: 

NY PUB HEALTH § 1100–a

Date Adopted: 
Mon, 04/13/2015
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West Virginia :: Local Authority :: Clarksburg

Abstract: 

Clarksburg, WV has voted to take bids for all of its water treatment chemicals save for fluoride, essentially ending water fluoridation in the jurisdiction.  See http://wvmetronews.com/2015/05/11/clarksburg-water-board-votes-to-end-practice-of-fluoridation/.  The Water Board has decided to continue to discuss the issue even after not voting to fund any fluoride contracts. See http://www.theet.com/news/local/water-board-to-resume-discussions-about-fluoride/article_4000700a-30b8-5d34-a8db-bb29463c472c.html

Last Updated: May 19, 2015

Michigan :: Ogemaw County :: Consideration

Abstract: 

The West Branch (Michigan) city counsel will consider whether to add fluoride to its water supply in the near future.  See http://ogemawherald.com/stories/City-to-consider-adding-additional-fluor....

 

Last updated: April 10, 2015.  

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