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Chicago water honored for fluoride levels

Updated: March 19, 2013 6:39PM

Say what you want about the taste of Chicago’s tap water, but according to Illinois health officials, the city’s water department has met the standard for the level of fluoride for at least 20 years.

The Chicago Water Department was one of 448 community water systems that received an award Tuesday from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for maintaining state-mandated fluoride levels last year.

“Whether following state mandates on water treatment or renewing our aging infrastructure, we remain committed to our customers,” said Tom LaPorte, spokesman for the Department of Water Management.

Illinois standards for fluoride levels are 0.9 to 1.2 parts per million per liter of water. In 2010, the U.S. Health and Human Services changed its recommendation for community water levels to maintain 0.7 milligrams per liter. Illinois has since been changed to be in line with HHS current recommendations. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that can reduce tooth decay.

Other Chicago-area water departments that made the list in 2012 were in Evanston, Glencoe, Kenilworth, Northbrook, Park Forest, Richton Park, Steger, South Barrington, Wilmette and Winnetka.

There are 1,781 water supplies in Illinois, but only 832 systems need to adjust to meet the necessary fluoride levels, IDPH says.

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