More than 440 Illinois communities receive top honors for maintaining fluoride levels

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[March 23, 2013]  SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Department of Public Health along with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency presented fluoridation awards this week to 448 community water systems for maintaining state-mandated fluoride levels every month in 2012. The awards were presented at a ceremony Tuesday during the 2013 Illinois Section American Water Works Association Conference and Expo at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has long acknowledged the public benefits of fluoridation of water systems," said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, director of the Department of Public Health. "Drinking fluoridated water from birth can reduce tooth decay by 40 to 65 percent."

More than 150 water supply operators have met Illinois standards for at least 10 consecutive years. Of those recognized: 71 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; 57 for at least 10 years; 62 for at least 15 years; 33 for at least 20 years, eight for at least 25 years, and one for at least 30 years. Another 84 communities received honorable mentions for meeting state fluoride levels 11 of 12 months in 2012.

"Water fluoridation can improve overall oral health for both children and adults, and studies show water fluoridation significantly reduces tooth decay over a person's lifetime," said Dr. David Miller, a dentist and chief of the IDPH Division of Oral Health. "We applaud those communities in Illinois that have practiced water fluoridation for more than 60 years and encourage them to continue their efforts."

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Approximately 99 percent Illinois residents served by public water systems receive the benefit of fluoridated drinking water, compared with 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 1,781 water supplies in Illinois, 832 systems adjust fluoride levels and another 949 either have adequate natural fluoride or are connected to an adjusted system.

For a complete list of water systems receiving 2012 compliance awards, click here.

[Text from Illinois Department of Public Health file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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