The Town of Laurel will begin adding fluoride to its public water system by July 18 to comply with state law. Under Senate Bill 173, passed in 1998, municipal water supplies must fluoridate their water.
For more than 40 years, the American Dental Association has endorsed fluoridation of community water supplies as safe and effective for preventing tooth decay. Fluoride is nature’s cavity fighter, occurring naturally in the earth’s crust, in combination with other minerals in rocks and soil. Small amounts of fluoride occur naturally in all water sources, and varying amounts of the mineral are found in all foods and beverages. The optimal level for fluoride in drinking water is 1.0 parts per million.
Laurel’s entire municipal water system of 473 hook ups will receive fluoridated water. The completed project, which began in February 2005, cost $220,700. This was funded by a grant from Delaware’s 21st Century Fund. The Town of Laurel will monitor fluoride levels daily and report results to Delaware’s Division of Public Health’s Office of Drinking Water monthly. The Office of Drinking Water will collect and test monthly samples to check fluoride levels in Laurel.
Other municipalities that have already implemented fluoridation include Seaford, Dover, Middletown, Delmar, New Castle, and Milton. Milford, Lewes, Selbyville, Newark, Wilmington, Georgetown and the Dover Air Force Base and Base Housing have fluoridated their drinking water for many years, while Camden-Wyoming, Felton and Clayton have naturally occurring fluoride at optimal levels.
Children who drink optimally fluoridated water on a regular basis do not need to take fluoride dietary supplements. Parents of children who regularly drink Laurel’s water should discontinue fluoride supplements for their children as of July 18. Most bottled water does not contain fluoride. Some home water treatments, such as reverse osmosis units, will remove fluoride, so customers should consult the water treatment manufacturer to determine if their water treatment system is removing fluoride. If so, parents should consult their prescribing dentist or physician about whether additional fluoride supplements are necessary.
For more information, contact Woody Vickers, Laurel public works director, or Glenn Steckman, town manager at 302-875-2277.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.