March 20, 2001
PUBLIC WATER SYSTEMS RECOGNIZED
SPRINGFIELD, IL The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) have recognized 444 community water systems for maintaining the state mandated fluoride level in drinking water for each month in 2000.
"When the fluoride levels in community water systems meet state standards, all the citizens of these communities benefit through improved oral health," said Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director. "Community water fluoridation is the most equitable, cost effective public health measure to protect teeth from tooth decay."
Of those recognized, 162 systems earned a commendation for meeting required fluoride levels for at least five consecutive years, 18 for at least 10 years and seven for at least 15 years. Another 95 communities received honorable mention for reaching fluoridation standards for 11 of 12 months during 2000.
"My agency joins IDPH in congratulating water supply operators for their diligence in maintaining optimum fluoride levels for the benefit of the public" said IEPA Director Thomas V. Skinner.
The oral health benefits of fluoride in drinking water have long been thought to primarily benefit children, but research shows that the proper amount of fluoride in drinking water protects teeth throughout life. As individuals age, fluoride is especially important in preventing oral diseases that might lead to other serious general health problems.
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. When this occurs, fluoride must be added to the water to provide the most oral health benefits to the community. Currently, 950 water systems add fluoride to their water.
System operators send water samples to a certified lab on a monthly basis for testing and IDPH monitors the sample results to ensure fluoride levels meet state standards.
Studies have found that for every dollar spent on fluoridation as much as $56 in dental care costs are saved. Fluoridating a community water supply costs an average of 20 cents to 30 cents per person served.
To view a list of the water systems receiving 2000 compliance awards, click here. PDF Format, 64K
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Questions or Comments