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LINDSAY CRAWFORD v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/06/75)

decided: May 6, 1975.

LINDSAY CRAWFORD, H. WILLIAM GROSS, GLORIA KAUFFMAN, HARRY SCHMIDT AND ALLAN GOODMAN, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF NORTHAMPTON COUNTY, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, J. FINTON SPELLER, SECRETARY OF HEALTH; AND COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES, MAURICE K. GODDARD, SECRETARY OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES, DEFENDANTS



Original jurisdiction in cases of Lindsay Crawford, H. William Gross, Gloria Kauffman, Harry Schmidt and Allan Goodman, Assistant District Attorney of Northampton County v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Health, J. Finton Speller, Secretary of Health; and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Resources, Maurice K. Goddard, Secretary of Environmental Resources.

COUNSEL

John C. Youngman, Jr., with him Candor, Youngman, Gibson & Gault, for plaintiffs.

Norman P. D'Apolito, Deputy Attorney General, with her, Lawrence Silver, Deputy Attorney General, and Israel Packel, Attorney General, for defendants.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 19 Pa. Commw. Page 12]

These cases are before us on Preliminary Objections filed by the defendants, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources, to a Complaint in Mandamus and to a Complaint in Equity filed by the plaintiffs on behalf of themselves and all other citizens of Pennsylvania who are not served by fluoridated water supply systems.

The facts are not in dispute. Plaintiffs allege that dental decay is a wide-spread disease which can be easily prevented or retarded by the addition of fluoride compounds to the drinking water. At present, however, many public water works companies have refused to fluoridate their water supplies. To date, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Resources, has not proposed any regulations which would require public water supply companies to initiate a fluoridation program. As a result, plaintiffs complain that they, and many other persons similarly situated, are required to live in communities where they cannot drink fluoridated water.

Plaintiffs have brought their action in Mandamus requesting that the named departments, by their Secretaries, be ordered to alter the existing regulations governing the issuance of water works permits by adding a provision which will require fluoridation. Alternatively, they have filed a separate suit in Equity asking for an injunction to prevent the Commonwealth from authorizing any permit which does not include such a provision. In support of their position, plaintiffs argue that the Commonwealth

[ 19 Pa. Commw. Page 13]

    has a statutory duty to protect the health of its citizens, and that the prevention of dental decay falls within the scope of this duty.

Defendants have raised objections to the Complaints, by way of demurrer, to the effect that plaintiffs have failed to state a cause of action sufficient to obtain relief either in Mandamus or in Equity for the reason that plaintiffs have established no right to fluoridated water and because defendants are under no statutory duty to mandate fluoridation.

The chief statutory authority relied upon by the plaintiffs is Article XXI of The Administrative Code, Act of April 9, 1929, P.L. 177, ยง 2102(a), as ...


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