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Boil Water Advisory Toolkit

Boil Water Advisory Toolkit                      




Safe drinking water is critical for home and business use including dental facilities around the world. In fact, safe water is one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. All public water systems in the US (supplying water to approximately 90% of the public) are required to follow the standards and regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA operates in partnership with the states, tribes, water systems and their operators.

Water systems regularly test for approximately 90 contaminants to make sure that no contaminant is present at levels that may pose a risk to human health. Unfortunately, water quality can sometimes change and despite the efforts of water suppliers, problems with drinking water can and do occur. When this happens, public water systems must notify their customers.

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Regulations & Guidelines                     


(1) 2003 Dental Infection Control Guidelines - Boil Water Advisories

(2) Dental offices during a boil-water advisory


(1) Dental Do's and Don'ts


(1) Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water

(2) Translation

(3) Current Drinking Water Regulations

(4) Notification Tiers

(5) The Public Notification Rule: A Quick Reference Guide

 ADA  (1) Emergency Planning & Disaster Recovery Planning in the Dental Office
 WHO (1) WHO Guidelines for drinking-water quality 

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Best Practices                  

Key Learnings

A boil-water advisory is a public health announcement that the public should boil tap water before drinking it. When issued, the public should assume the water is unsafe to drink.

During a boil-water advisory, water should not be delivered to patients through the dental unit, ultrasonic scaler, or other dental equipment that uses the public water system. This restriction does not apply if the water source is isolated from the municipal water system (e.g., a separate water reservoir or other water treatment device cleared for marketing by FDA). Patients should rinse with bottled or distilled water until the boil-water advisory has been cancelled. During these advisory periods, tap water should not be used to dilute germicides or for hand hygiene unless the water has been brought to a rolling boil for >1 minute and cooled before use. For hand hygiene, antimicrobial products that do not require water (e.g., alcohol-based hand rubs) can be used until the boil-water notice is cancelled. If hands are visibly contaminated, bottled water and soap should be used for handwashing; if bottled water is not immediately available, an antiseptic towelette should be used.

Source: CDC

Related Articles  (1) WHO - Safer water, better health

(1) WHO – Technical Brief

(2) CDC – Drinking Water FAQ

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Instructional Resources                  

(1)Tap Into Prevention: Drinking Water Information for Health Care Providers - A Continuing Education Video

 Fact Sheets (1) CDC - Boil-Water Advisories and the Dental Office

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 Patient Resources                
 CDC  (1) Global Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene (WASH)
 Medline Plus  (1) Boil-Water Advisories

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