News Feature | January 4, 2017

Alabama Court Rules City Can Remove Fluoride From Drinking Water

Dominique 'Peak' Johnson

By Peak Johnson

arab.reg

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled last month that a Marshall County water system can cease fluoridating its water over issues that the practice is not deemed healthy.

In August of last year, the city of Arab’s water system stopped fluoridating its water after looking over studies that stated that using the chemical posed a potential health threat. However, just a few months later, the Arab City Council ordered the system to restart the fluoridation.

After hearing testimony from medical experts, a Marshall County judge issued a preliminary injunction that restarted the fluoridation, Alabama.com reported. The waterworks appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court.

What the water board is arguing is “that despite the city council's 1972 resolution to start fluoridation and its 2015 resolution telling the waterworks to continue fluoridation, the water system still has the authority to make operational decisions.”

The Alabama Supreme Court reversed the circuit judge's order that allowed the city council an injunction requiring the water system to fluoridate the water.

"The board is correct. It is undisputed that the board has authority over the waterworks system," according to the court opinion obtained by Alabama.com.

The court stated that Arab “did not have a reasonable chance of success on the ultimate merits of its case.”

This is not the first time that the issue of fluoride has been disputed. Similarly in October, the board of the East Tennessee Medical Freedom Alliance worked towards getting the chemical out of Knoxville’s drinking water. The group even started a petition on Change.org in order to support the effort.

According to the Supreme Court opinion, the water board had cited studies that found negative health consequences that came from fluoride. The city, however, “disagreed and on Nov. 2, 2015, the council, citing studies indicating negative health consequences if the water wasn't fluoridated, passed a resolution ordering the waterworks board ‘to immediately restart the addition of fluoride into the water supply system of the municipality.’”

Last November, the water board wrote a letter to the city saying that it did not intend to comply. In February, “the city filed a lawsuit against the water board and asked the circuit court to enter an injunction requiring the water system to fluoridate the water it supplies to the city.”

For similar stories visit Water Online’s Drinking Water Contaminant Removal Solutions Center.

Image credit: "Arab, Alabama" Beth Jackson © 2013 used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/