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Water professionals recognize value of fluoridation

June 21, 2016 Chicago — Calling water fluoridation "one of the most efficient, effective and economical public health measures ever undertaken," the American Water Works Association in June at its annual conference honored the City of Grand Rapids Water System.

Grand Rapids, Michigan, was in 1945 the first U.S. city to add fluoride to a public water supply.  The water group recognized the Michigan water system with a Dr. John L. Leal Award, which is bestowed annually to recognize distinguished service to the water profession and commemorates "the courageous leadership and sound medical and public health expertise that characterized Dr. Leal's life," according to the water association.  Dr. Leal is widely considered a pioneer in water treatment, credited with first introducing the use of chlorine for disinfection in U.S. water supplies at the beginning of the 20th century.

In recognizing the water system, the water association said, "the history of the Grand Rapids water system fluoride trial dramatically demonstrates the important results that were accomplished through the application of dental research with local, state and federal cooperation."

For more information about the award and past award recipients, visit