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Laws and Court Decisions Regarding Fluoridation

Pennsylvania does not currently force water systems to add fluoride, although there are persistent legislative attempts to mandate fluoridation for the whole state.

Although Pennsylvania law describes fluoride as a poison, the government agencies with jurisdiction over public water systems have banned the removal of fluoride from water systems that already have it. The courts have supported these actions, even when recognizing that the agency position is arbitrary.

The Lebanon decisions below created the de facto situation of Pennsylvania being the only state where fluoridation is not mandatory, but where it's illegal to STOP fluoridation.

Jump Down to: Fluoride-Related State Court Cases Throughout the U.S.

Laws Regarding Fluorides in Pennsylvania

  1. No Sodium Fluoride or Related Compounds Allowed in Food:
    31 P.S. 10 (1998), TITLE 31. FOOD, CHAPTER 1. ADULTERATION OR MISBRANDING OF FOOD IN GENERAL, [P.S.] 10. Sale of food containing formaline, etc., prohibited, PENNSYLVANIA STATUTES

  2. Fluorides Listed as Schedule 'A' Poisons in Pennsylvania (along with arsenic, cyanide, mercury compounds and the like):

  3. 1909 Food Adulteration Law Cites Fluorides as Deleterious to Health (referenced in the following case law):
    Commonwealth v. Pflaum, No. 148, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 236 Pa. 294; 84 A. 842; 1912 Pa. LEXIS 749, April 8, 1912, Argued, April 29, 1912

Case Law Regarding Fluorides in Pennsylvania

  1. Lebanon Loses Right to Remove Fluoride From Water: [Note: Lebanon is currently fluoridated]
    COMMONWEALTH v. CITY OF LEBANON, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 482 Pa. 66; 393 A.2d 381; 1978 Pa. LEXIS 968; 9 ELR 20053, November 18, 1977, Argued, October 5, 1978, Decided

  2. Lebanon Fights for Right to Remove Fluoride from Water:
    Ditzler v. City of Lebanon, No. 17 T.D. 1976, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, 29 Pa. Commw. 69; 370 A.2d 441; 1977 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 719, February 2, 1977, Submitted on Briefs, March 3, 1977, Decided

  3. Storage of Chlorine and Fluorides Cited as Hazard of Water Treatment Operations:
    LEVIN v. BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF BENNER TWP., No. 394 C.D. 1995, No. 395 C.D. 1995, No. 518 C.D. 1995, No. 519 C.D. 1995, COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA, 669 A.2d 1063; 1995 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 594, September 15, 1995, Argued, December 28, 1995, Decided, December 28, 1995, FILED, Petition for Allowance of Appeal Granted August 6, 1996, Reported at: 1996 Pa. LEXIS 1608.

  4. Dentist Loses Mandatory Fluoridation Attempt in Philadelphia Suburban Case:
    Rovin v. Pennsylvania PUC, No. 62 C.D. 1985, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, 94 Pa. Commw. 71; 502 A.2d 785; 1986 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 1840, November 14, 1985, Argued, January 7, 1986, Decided

  5. West View (Allegheny County) Fluoridation Fought Too Late: [Note: West View is currently fluoridated]
    Aitkenhead v. Borough of West View, No. 1169 C.D. 1979, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, 65 Pa. Commw. 213; 442 A.2d 364; 1982 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 1101, October 6, 1981, Argued, March 9, 1982, Decided

  6. Armco Steel Sludge Dumped in Mines Causes Fluoride Pollution:
    Lucas v. Commonwealth, Nos. 1251 and 1293 C.D. 1979, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, 53 Pa. Commw. 598; 420 A.2d 1; 1980 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 1716; 14 ERC (BNA) 2185, June 3, 1980, Argued, September 3, 1980, Decided

  7. Court Rejects Challenge to State Permit for Fluoridation of Allentown, PA Water Supply [Note: This case didn't result in the fluoridation of Allentown's water system, which Allentown residents kept unfluoridated for 40 years until November 2000. See the Allentown Fluoridation Page for details.]
    Commonwealth v. Bierman, No. 1025 C.D. 1975, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, 23 Pa. Commw. 646; 354 A.2d 48; 1976 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 943, January 7, 1976, Argued, March 11, 1976, Decided

  8. Fluoridationists Lose Legal Fight to make Water Fluoridation Mandatory Statewide:
    Crawford v. Commonwealth, Nos. 1637 and 1650 C.D. 1973, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, 19 Pa. Commw. 10; 338 A.2d 727; 1975 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 961, December 3, 1974, Argued, May 6, 1975, Decided

  9. Court allows Sunbury, PA officials to ignore Anti-Fluoridation Initiative: [Note: Sunbury is currently fluoridated]
    Williams v. Rowe, No. 270 C.D. 1971, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, 3 Pa. Commw. 537; 283 A.2d 881; 1971 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 388, September 8, 1971 Argued, November 17, 1971, Decided

  10. Philadelphia and New Castle fluoridation challanges defeated:
    "Two important court fights advancing the state's authority to promote and grant fluoridation projects were won in 1955. Philadelphia entered the fold last year following the denial of an injunction restraining the department in the program. A similar decision was handed down in Lawrence County Court upholding fluoridation in New Castle."

Fluoride-Related Court Cases

The following are fluoride-related state court decisions. While the courts have acknowledged that fluoridated chemicals are
hazardous, the courts have overwhelmingly ruled in favor of water fluoridation whenever the courts were asked to rule on the merits of fluoridation or on the right of government to fluoridate. The courts have consistently brushed aside the scientific and ethical matters raised by safe drinking water advocates, while deferring to the opinions of pro-fluoridation state authorities. These decisions have formed a body of case law so one-sided that the courts have allowed this momentum to justify further pro-fluoridation decisions. This "follow the leader" approach is especially evident in cases from Kentucky, Minnesota, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The few cases where the courts ruled against fluoridation were on technical matters unrelated to the merits of fluoridation.

Residents Lose Suits Over Local Water Fluoridation Decisions

Courts Force Fluoride on Residents and Local Governments

Rulings Against Initiative/Referendum Attempts

Successful Rulings Against Fluoridation (none ruled on the merits of fluoridation)

Other Water Fluoridation Cases

Non-Water Fluoridation Cases that involve Fluoridated Chemicals (showing that fluorides are toxic poisons/pollutants)

Last modified: 24 February 2005

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