SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), along with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), presented fluoridation awards to 433 community water systems for maintaining state-mandated fluoride levels every month in 2010. The awards were presented at a ceremony held during the 2011 Illinois Section American Water Works Association Conference and Expo at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield.
The Elburn and Sugar Grove water departments both received fluoridation awards.
“Water fluoridation can improve overall oral health for both children and adults. Studies show water fluoridation reduces tooth decay by about 25 percent over a person’s lifetime,” said Dr. Damon T. Arnold, state public health director. “Studies also show that widespread community water fluoridation saves money for both families and the health care system. We applaud those communities that maintain levels of fluoride in their water systems and encourage them to continue their efforts.”
Of those recognized, 101 systems earned a commendation for meeting state recommended fluoride levels of 0.9 to 1.2 parts per million for at least five consecutive years; 40 for at least 10 years; 78 for at least 15 years; 14 for at least 20 years and 7 for at least 25 years. Another 110 received honorable mention for meeting state fluoride levels 11 of 12 months in 2010.
“We join public health in congratulating these water supply operators for their diligence in maintaining optimum fluoride levels for the benefit of the public,” said IEPA Interim Director Lisa Bonnett.
Fluoride in drinking water helps improve the quality of life through less tooth decay; reduced time lost from school and work; and less money spent to restore, remove or replace decayed teeth. In Illinois, approximately 99 percent of those served by public water systems receive the benefit of fluoridated drinking water, compared to the current national average of approximately 72 percent. Fluoride is found naturally in water, but in many communities the amount of the mineral is too low and does not meet the required standards. Water operators will add fluoride to fulfill optimal health benefits to the communities. Of the 1,838 water supplies in Illinois, 834 systems adjust fluoride levels.
Illinois communities have practiced water fluoridation for more than 60 years, and fluoride continues to prove beneficial in the battle against tooth decay. In fact, drinking fluoridated water from birth can reduce tooth decay by 40 to 65 percent.