The Fluoridation Controversy
Statutes and ordinances implementing plans to add fluorides to the public water supply have been suffered numerous attacks in courts around the nation. These attacks include, but are not limited to, allegations that fluoridation measures are impermissible exercises of a state’s police power or are violations of the constitutional guarantees of freedom of choice and freedom of religion. Due to wide societal acceptance of fluoridation’s scientifically proven benefits and the wide authority granted to the states by the United States Constitution to promote the public welfare of their citizens, the overwhelming majority of these attacks have failed. (See 43 A.L.R.2d 453 for an overview of all relevant case law). Yet, despite the clear legal authority supporting the fluoridation of water, there is a great deal of controversy surrounding the issue.
Government entities seeking to implement these plans for the purpose of preventing the widespread occurrence of tooth decay among citizens often face substantial opposition from the public. However, it is clear that the principles embodied in the Constitution demand that state action taken for the purpose of protecting the public should not be disturbed unless the reviewing court determines such action is unreasonable or an abuse of discretion. A brief review of the fluoridation cases reveals that the attacks made upon fluoridation implementation plans recycle the same theories, and that courts have answered these attacks with marked similarity.