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Elevated Fluoride Levels & FAQ's

April 1, 2016

This is a public notice regarding Indianola's drinking water and a cosmetic dental problem that might affect children under nine years of age.  At low levels, fluoride can help prevent cavities, but children drinking water containing more than 2.0 milligrams per liter (mg/l) of fluoride may develop cosmetic discoloration of their permanent teeth (dental fluorosis).  The drinking water provided by your public water system, Indianola Municipal Utilities, has a fluoride concentration of
2.6 mg/l.

Dental fluorosis in its moderate or severe forms may result in a brown staining and or pitting of the permanent teeth.  This problem occurs only in developing teeth, before they erupt from the gums.  Children under nine should be provided with alternative sources of drinking water or water that has been treated to remove the fluoride to avoid the possibility of staining and pitting of their permanent teeth.  You may also want to contact your dentist about proper use by young children of fluoride-containing products.  Older children and adults may safely drink the water.

Drinking water containing more than 4.0 mg/l of fluoride (the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s drinking water standard) can increase your risk of developing bone disease.  Your drinking water does not contain more than 4.0 mg/l of fluoride, but we’re required to notify you when we discover that the fluoride levels in your drinking water exceed 2.0 mg/l because of this cosmetic dental problem.

For more information, please call Indianola Municipal Utilities Water Department at 515-961-9444, ext. 5330.  Some home water treatment units are also available to remove fluoride from drinking water.  In Iowa, home water treatment units are regulated under 641-Chapter 14, with the water treatment unit registration program administered by the Iowa Department of Public Health’s environmental health division.  In addition, you may call the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) International, at 1-877-867-3435.

This notice is being sent to you by Indianola Municipal Utilities, PWSID #9133075. 

Fluoride FAQ's

  1. Is IMU’s Water Safe to Drink?  Yes!  This notice contains the required verbiage written by the Iowa Department of Public Health.  Community water systems that exceed the fluoride level of 2.0 mg/L (the EPA minimum level) must provide special fluoride public notice to persons served.  A routine sample taken from Indianola’s water supply contained a fluoride level of 2.6 mg/L.
  2. Does IMU Add Fluoride to the Drinking Water?  No.  The fluoride in Indianola’s water is naturally occurring.  IMU obtains its water from the sandstone and dolomite of the Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer.  The Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer was determined to have low susceptibility to contamination because the characteristics of the aquifer and overlying materials provide natural protection from contaminants at the land’s surface.  
  3. What is an Unsafe Fluoride Level?  The maximum level set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is 4.0 mg/L.  Drinking water containing more than 4.0 mg/L can increase the risk of certain health issues.  Indianola’s drinking water does not contain unsafe fluoride levels but IMU is required to notify persons served when a sample exceeds the 2.0 mg/L minimum.
  4. Does IMU’s Water Contain Nitrates?  No.  IMU is subject to mandatory, annual nitrate testing but the results show “NO DETECT” in the samples tested.
  5. What if I Still Have Concerns About the Fluoride Level in My Water?  General Questions regarding Indianola’s drinking water system should be directed to the IMU Administrative Office at 515-961-9444.  Specific health questions should be directed to your family physician or dentist.

Helpful information can also be found on the following:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:  800-232-4636

American Dental Association (ADA):  312-440-2500

Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline:  800-426-4791

Iowa Department of Natural Resources: 

Indianola’s Most Recent Water Quality Results515-961-9444

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Indianola Municipal Utilities, 210 West 2nd Avenue, Indianola, IA  50125 / (515) 961-9444