Press Release

March 22, 2005

State Agencies and the American Dental Association
Celebrate 60 Years of Community Water Fluoridation

SPRINGFIELD, Ill – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) recognized 428 community water systems for maintaining state mandated fluoride levels each month in 2004. IDPH and IEPA also joined the American Dental Association in celebrating six decades of community water fluoridation.

“Water fluoridation is a proven way to prevent tooth decay and improve overall oral health for both children and adults,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director. “Community water fluoridation is an efficient, economical way to promote dental health and we commend those communities who fulfill the state mandated levels of fluoride in their water systems.”

Of those recognized, 85 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, 90 for at least 10 years, 12 for at least 15 years, five for at least 20 years and 108 received honorable mention.

"We join IDPH in congratulating these water supply operators for their diligence in maintaining optimum fluoride levels for the benefit of the public," said IEPA Director Renee Cipriano.

Fluoride in drinking water helps to 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, 99 percent of those served by public water systems receive the benefit of optimally fluoridated drinking water compared to the current national average of 66 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, 840 water supplies in Illinois, 883 systems adjust fluoride levels. The average cost to fluoridate a community water supply is about 50 cents per person per year.

“It is worth every penny spent when you look at the savings in dental treatment. Studies have shown that for every dollar invested in fluoridation, as much as $38 is saved,” said Dr. Whitaker.

This year marks 60 years of practicing water fluoridation and fluoride continues to prove beneficial in the battle against tooth decay. Water fluoridation benefits more than 200 million Americans, 12.4 million in Illinois.

A special award will be given out to this year to five water facilities that have achieved perfect compliance for at least twenty years. The “Albert A. Oltmann Memorial Fluoridation Award” is named after the late Albert Oltmann of Armington, Illinois. He was a water operator who was responsible for dramatically improving the community’s oral health status. Oltmann was the only water supplier operator in Illinois to maintain the proper level of fluoride in the community waters supply for more than 38 years. He was ranked number one out of 1,830 community water suppliers. The award will honor Oltmann for his dedication, commitment and quality of work devoted to servicing the people of Armington, Illinois.

Click here for a complete list of water systems receiving 2004 compliance awards.


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Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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