A state matter: Elgin not pursuing removing fluoride from drinking water
By Mike Danahey firstname.lastname@example.org @DanaheyECN on Twitter October 29, 2013 4:40PM
The city of Elgin will no longer pursue removing fluoride from its drinking water, being prepared here at its Riverside Treatment facility. | Sun-Times Media file
Updated: December 1, 2013 8:17AM
ELGIN — The city will not pursue any moves to take fluoride out of its drinking matter under current state rules.
“We completed a very, very basic review of the requirements, presented that to council and knew there was no point going any further unless the law changed,” City Manager Sean Stegall said.
This issue was brought up by Councilman Terry Gavin at an August city council meeting. Stegall said he directed Water Director Kyla Jacobsen to look into the matter.
He also asked former Elgin Public Services Director David Lawry about the issue, which went no further than the initial confirmation of requirements. Lawry was not paid for his input, Stegall said.
In a Sept. 5 memo, Jacobsen stated, “Elgin has fluoridated its drinking water for over 60 years. Fluoride provides safe dental prevention in a cost effective way to our most vulnerable citizens. Fluoridation of water is the most cost-effective method of preventing tooth decay, and it provides the greatest benefit to those who can least afford preventive and restorative dentistry.”
“The evidence supporting the safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of fluoridation of community water supplies comes from multiple sources covering 50 years of legitimate research published in peer-reviewed journals, including both long-term studies on large populations, recent confirmatory studies and comprehensive literature reviews,” Jacobsen wrote. “Adding fluoride to drinking water is an important element in promotion of dental health.”
While noting that there is such a thing as too much, Jacobsen assured Stegall and the city council that Elgin is within the low end of the required range and that “anything will cause adverse health effects if consumed in high quantities. Most medicines have terrible side effects at dosages other than what is prescribed.”
She stated that 13 states including Illinois have fluoride regulations set at the state level, while the remaining 37 allow fluoride in the drinking water to be decided at the local level.
“The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Illinois Department of Public Health are responsible for setting and enforcing safety standards for community water systems. We follow the regulations that we are given,” Jacobsen stated.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health website, “legislation mandating the fluoridation of all public water supplies in the state was passed in 1967 and signed into law July 18 of that year.”
“Community water fluoridation is still the most equitable and cost effective public health measure to protect teeth from decay and to improve oral health for both children and adults,” the site states. “Studies have shown that for every dollar invested in fluoridation, as much as $38 is saved in dental treatment costs.”