Fluoridation measures (specify ordinance or resolution) bear a reasonable
relation to protecting the public health.
While the prevalence of dental caries is disturbing, it may be efficiently
controlled through the process of water fluoridation. Statistics show that the
occurrence of the disease in populations drinking fluoridated water is
significantly lower than in populations without the benefit of similar water
treatment systems. (La. DHHS). Furthermore, water fluoridation is the most
cost-effective method for preventing tooth decay at a fraction of the cost
required to treat the disease when it is allowed to develop freely without
proper preventive measures. Considering the foregoing facts, [specify
fluoridation measure at issue] satisfies the “reasonable relation” test, as its
stated purpose of is to control and prevent the spread of tooth decay.
The Louisiana Supreme Court found that a city ordinance mandating the
fluoridation of public water systems was reasonably related to protecting the
public health in Chapman v. City of Shreveport, 74 So.2d 142 (La. 1954). The
court began its deliberation as to the validity of the fluoridation measure with a
detailed analysis of the provisions of Louisiana law relevant to the power to
protect the public health. Id. at 145. In concluding that there was in fact a valid
delegation of power, the Chapman court explained fluoridation was within the
power granted to the city by charter as long as it was reasonably related to the
public health. Id. The court further explained that the health of a community’s
children is vital to the protection of the welfare of that community as a whole.
Id. Thus, fluoridation of water, the purpose of which is to prevent the incidence
of dental caries in children, does bear a reasonable relation to the public
In Froncek v. City of Milwaukee, 69 N.W.2d 242 (Wis. 1955), the Supreme Court
of Wisconsin considered a similar challenge by residents and water users of the
city of Milwaukee alleging that an ordinance mandating water fluoridation was
not reasonably related to protecting the public health. Particularly, the
plaintiffs claimed that because the ordinance’s stated purpose was to provide
benefits only to young children by preventing the occurrence of dental caries, a
non- contagious disease, it resulted in an unreasonable compulsion upon all
citizens to drink the treated water.
Id. at 246. The court, citing Chapman,
explained the wide latitude afforded to the legislature, and to the city by
delegation, to make these determinations, and concluded that fluoridation did
bear a reasonable relation to the public health and therefore was a valid
exercise of police power. Id. at 247.
The Missouri Supreme Court has also addressed this issue. In
Readey v. St.
Louis County Water Co., 352 S.W.2d 622, 626 (Mo. 1961), when considering
whether a fluoridation statute bore a reasonable relation to protecting public
health, the court first noted the significant amount of evidence on the record
supporting each party in the litigation. After acknowledging the extremely
controversial nature of the subject, the court explained that as long as the
resulting ordinance was reasonably related to protecting the public health, it
was the legislature’s function to resolve the debate.
Id. At 627.
In conclusion, fluoridation measures are intended to prevent a severely
deteriorative condition from spreading throughout a community. The measures
are proven to be very effective at accomplishing this purpose, with little or no
known adverse effects when fluoride levels are properly monitored. Clearly
[specify fluoridation measure at issue] is reasonably related to protecting the
oral health of the citizens of [specify city or town]. It would be unreasonable to
prevent the government from affording its citizens this protection.