Community / News / March 6, 2013

Fluoride in Galesburg tap water found to be at safe levels

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.

Tags:  fluoridation fluoride molly suter water water quality

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Julian Boireau
Julian Boireau is a senior majoring in international relations and minoring in French. This is his fourth year working for TKS, having served as co-news editor during his sophomore and junior years. He has been involved in journalism for seven years, serving as opinions editor of the newspaper and editor-in-chief of the literary magazine at Palisades Charter High School in Los Angeles, California. In September 2012, Julian received press credentials to attend the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, where he reported on remarks by President Barack Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. He is also the recipient of back-to-back first place awards from the Illinois College Press Association for front page layout.

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  • http://www.FluorideAction.Net nyscof

    Ingesting fluoride is ineffective at improving dental or bone health, and harmful to health.Fluoridation Opposition is Scientific, Respectable & Growing

    More than 4,500 professionals (including 343 dentists and 538 MD’s) urge that fluoridation be stopped because fluoridation is ineffective and harmful. See statement:

    Most dentists are trained to use politics and not science to promote fluoridation, according to Armfield and Melbye in the Journal of the American Dental Association . The researchers write: “Studies of dentists’ attitudes about water fluoridation suggest that a lack of knowledge and preparedness are barriers to discussing the topic … more than one-half of the respondents believed they needed more information and training on the issue.

    Armfield and Melbye postulate that: “Dentists’ lack of self-efficacy with respect to critically evaluating scientific literature may help to explain their reluctance to promote water fluoridation in their clinical practices.” Other studies how dentists don’t keep current on new fluoride science, e.g. this research y by Yoder

    In 2006, a National Research Council expert panel published a fluoride report which revealed that fluoride, even at low doses added to water supplies, can be especially harmful to the thyroid gland, kidney patients, babies, seniors and people who drink high amounts of water. They also revealed critical fluoride safety studies have never been done and studies linking fluoride to cancer and lower IQ are plausible.

    Thirty-six human studies now link fluoride to lowered IQ, some at levels considered safe in the US. See:

    After 68 years of water fluoridation, the Centers for Disease Control reports that up to 60% of 12-15 year-olds are affected with fluoride overdose symptoms – dental fluorosis, white spotted, yellow, brown and/or pitted teeth. Yet, the CDC says More young kids face cavity crisis in US

    Tooth decay crises are occurring in all fluoridated cities and states because Americans can’t afford dental care. New dental professionals are being created. New dental schools opened, dental expenditures have gone up substantially and tooth decay has become big business. Fluoridated toothpaste, alone is a multi-billion dollar international market.

    New Hampshire passed first ever state-wide fluoride warning law that 6-month-olds should not be routinely fed infant formula mixed with fluoridated water to avoid dental fluorosis. (This new warning is partially due to the experimental research this writer was a part of)

    Emergency rooms are flooded with people in dental pain, costing taxpayers millions of dollars, because 80% of dentists refuse Medicaid patients, 130 million Americans don’t have dental insurance. Many of those with insurance can’t afford dentistry’s high out-of-pocket costs. No American is or ever was fluoride-deficient. Too many are dentist-deficient.

    The CDC reports that 225 less communities adjusted for fluoride between 2006 and 2008. About 100 US and Canadian communities rejected fluoridation since 2008; many in 2012.

    This election day, fluoridation was defeated 60% to 40% in a Wichita, Kansas.

    Recently, 33,000 Portland, Oregon petition-signers halted the ill-advised fluoridation mandate by the Portland City Commission.

    Windsor, Ontario, and Cairns, Australia stopped fluoridation this year. Windsor’s Mayor, who has a chemistry background, explains why he voted with the majority to stop 51 years of water fluoridation in this radio interview.

    29 communities in Queensland, Australia voted to end fluoridation, this year.

    Most of Western Europe and major world cities do not fluoridate the water. Yet tooth decay rates are similar.

  • jwillie6

    Only 5% of the world uses fluoridation because many large studies show fluoridation is totally ineffective in improving tooth decay and is dangerous to health (See The citizens of these few countries using fluoride also have the distinction of having the highest rates of arthritis and thyroid disease, both side effects of excessive ingestion of fluoride.

    The World Health Organization studied 16 countries and showed fluoride is of no value for teeth. Europe has rejected it and is 98% fluoride free. India, Japan, China and most countries now reject it. Interestingly, despite the fact that the vast majority of western Europe does not fluoridate its water, Europe’s tooth decay rates are as low – if not lower – than the tooth decay rates in the heavily fluoridated United States or New Zealand.

    Most of the US (67%) has been fluoridated for fifty years or more. If fluoridation actually worked as advertised, the dental profession should be on the verge of extinction except for itinerant practitioners. By now. tooth decay should be virtually eradicated like small pox or polio. How do you explain that dentistry is a growing profession with new schools planed?

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