An independent University of Iowa water fluoridation test found the fluoride level in Galesburg tap water to be within the optimal state recommended range of 0.9 to 1.2 parts-per-million (ppm).
Sophomore Molly Suter sent a sample of public water to the University of Iowa College of Dentistry in January.
“They send me this vial and they ask me to fill it up with tap water, then I seal it and put it back in the business reply container they give me and send it back to the lab in Iowa City, and then they test it for fluoride,” Suter said.
Suter received a letter in February stating that the sample she sent was found to have a fluoride level of 1.03 ppm.
According to Water Operations Supervisor of the City of Galesburg Water Division Tim Fey, who also oversees the monitoring laboratory, fluoridation levels in Galesburg are checked daily to ensure that they remain between the desired range of 1.0 and 1.1 ppm.
Fey also noted that Galesburg has been fluoridating its water since the 1960s, due to the fact that the water obtained from the city’s water source, an aquifer located near Oquawka, Ill., does not maintain an acceptable natural fluoride level.
The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency also monitor fluoride levels to ensure that they fall within the recommended 0.9 to 1.2 ppm range.
The institutions present awards of recognition to cities that maintain this range every month during the year.
Representatives from the institutions spoke on the importance of maintaining optimal fluoridation levels at a presentation ceremony at the 2012 Illinois Section American Water Works Association Conference and Expo, held at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield on March 21, 2012.
The following statements were acquired from a news release from the IDPH published the same day as the event. The quotes were said during the presentation.
“Water fluoridation can improve overall oral health for both children and adults, and studies show water fluoridation reduces tooth decay by about 25 percent over a person’s lifetime,” Dr. David Miller, IDPH Division of Oral Health Chief said. “We applaud those communities that maintain levels of fluoride in their water systems and encourage them to continue their efforts.”
“Maintaining optimum fluoride levels provides an important benefit for the public. The Illinois EPA congratulates these water supply operators for all their efforts to diligently ensure fluoride levels to their respective communities,” IEPA Interim Director John J. Kim said.
The Galesburg Water Department, which serves Knox County, has received the perfect compliance award for 15 consecutive years, from 1994 to 2011.
The federal EPA maximum contaminant level goal for fluoride is 4.0 ppm, at which point adverse health effects may arise, according to the EPA website.
The fluoridation test was conducted as part of a voluntary educational study in which Suter is part of the subject pool.
The study, initiated by Steven Levy, D.D.S., professor of preventive and community dentistry at the UI College of Dentistry and professor of epidemiology at the UI College of Public Health, drew participants by asking mothers of newborns from eight Iowa hospital postpartum units between 1992 and 1995 to participate, according to the UI College of Dentistry website.
“My mom works for the University of Iowa—she has since before I was born—so when I was born she signed me up for this fluoride study that the university was putting on … So every few years, I would fill out these questionnaires about my eating habits so they could study bone growth,” Suter said.
The study is aimed at charting the effects of fluoride on a child’s development.
“The Iowa Fluoride Study is a longitudinal study of children designed to quantify fluoride exposures from both dietary and non-dietary sources and to associate longitudinal fluoride exposures with dental fluorosis (spots on teeth) and dental caries (cavities),” according to the website.