Sacramento’s drinking water in good shape

Sacramento’s drinking water meets or surpasses all state and federal health requirements, according to the city’s report on water quality relative to public health goals.

It does not, however, meet every public health goal as set by the state.

“We may not meet all those goals,” said Jessica Hess, spokeswoman for the Department of Utilities. “We probably never have met all those goals, since they’re set at a level so high to encourage jurisdictions to do better.”

Hess said the city’s water facilities don’t all have the technology to even measure the levels set forth in the state public health goals.

“The goals are set for levels that are very difficult for folks to attain, and there are some challenges for that,” Hess said. “It requires testing that our current facilities are incapable of reaching.”

The state report is mandated every three years by law, and it measures samples taken from the city’s water supply with acceptable levels of contaminants in reaching the state goals.

Those contaminants include arsenic, bacteria and fluoride, among others.

According to the report, the goals are not enforceable.

The federal and state requirements, however, are enforceable, and the results are sent to city water users every year.

“The city’s drinking water is excellent…passing all state and federal standards,” said Mike Yee, plant services manager for the Department of Utilities, at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

No one spoke on the matter at the required public hearing Tuesday night, and the council accepted the report, which can be viewed online here.

Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press.

Conversation Express your views, debate, and be heard with those in your area closest to the issue. RSS Feed

August 18, 2010 | 4:19 PM

It’s always good to hear that we’re not drinking poison.

August 19, 2010 | 10:08 AM

yes you are. Untested and unregulated Sodium Fluoride sourced from China – this is what the city of sac knowingly adds to our drinking water.

August 19, 2010 | 12:05 AM

It’s actually incredible how drinkable the tap water is in Sacramento as opposed to in other cities. Something that should not be taken for granted! Thanks for reminding us.

August 19, 2010 | 5:22 AM

Actually, this water isn’t safe to drink for all. Studies show that just drinking small amounts of fluoride as is added purposely to your water supply is linked to thyroid dysfunction, brain deficits, bone and tooth damage.

More than 3,000 professionals (including over 270 dentists) urge the US Congress to stop water fluoridation citing scientific evidence that fluoridation, long promoted to fight tooth decay, is ineffective and has serious health risks. See statement:

August 19, 2010 | 11:18 AM

What exactly does the New York Coalition Opposed to Fluoride (Nys Cof) know about Sacramento’s drinking water? When are you people ever going to give up? Wait, I know the answer to that, never. There’s no one in Sacramento walking around with green skin or third eyeballs because of fluoride, and its been over 10 years since the City fluoridated. The people of Sacramento are intelligent, well-informed citizens. They know scare tactics and junk science when they read it.

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August 19, 2010 | 10:28 AM

To ascertain the SCIENTIFIC TRUTH about Sacramento drinking water try watching the recently issued VIDEO :”Professional Perspectives on Water Fluoridation” at (google) FLUORIDE ACTION NETWORK. 15 world-wide scientists explain what fluoride does if you drink it and why they think it is a bad idea to put it into anybody’s water.

August 19, 2010 | 11:21 AM

I’ll put the 100 world-wide professional health organization’s that support fluoridation up against those 15 “scientists” any day. Please check out the real facts – the peer-reviewed, science-based evidence and decide for yourself. The conspiracy theories and junk science are an insult to the intelligence of the people of Sacto.

August 19, 2010 | 11:34 AM

More fluoride = more money for dentists?

Despite 60+ years of water fluoridation, Americans are spending more than ever on dental care. “between 1998 and 2008 the increase in the cost of dental services exceeded that of medical care and far exceeded the overall rate of inflation,” according to Slate Magazine. Americans paid 44.2 percent of dental bills themselves compared to 10.3 percent of physician costs, Slate reports. (3)

Dentists pat themselves on the back claiming they are the only profession endorsing something that would put them out of business. But apparently the more fluoride people get, the more money dentists make.

Dentists’ Nominal Net Income for 2000 was $533,000 up from $141,000 in 1982, according to the American Dental Association Survey published in the March 2005 Journal of the American Dental Association. During the same time period, the number of Americans living in fluoridated communities went from 116 million to 172 million. (4)

Analysis of Kumar’s data:

3) Slate Magazine, “The American Way of Dentistry, The Oral Cost Spiral” by June Thomas (September 29, 2009)

4) Fluoridation Statistics:

August 19, 2010 | 4:56 PM

You can’t just generalize and draw an unsubstantiated conclusion between dental incomes and fluoride. You have to look at the types of services (procedures) that are being paid for in the offices. The majority of increases in dentist income the last 10 years have been from consumer (patient) demands for cosmetic services, which have nothing to do with fluoride or oral health. Suburbia wants their teeth bleached and dental insurance doesn’t cover it so the $300 is out of pocket and goes right to the dentist bottom line. Irrelevant to any point regarding fluoridation. However, what is relevant is that the CDC reports that caries rates are dropping, particularly in fluoridated communities. So dentists are getting paid less to fill holes in teeth because fluoride is working.

August 19, 2010 | 11:41 AM

U.S. Dentists “Unaware” of Recent Fluoride Research

When water fluoridation was first introduced en masse in the 1950s, dentists argued that fluoride needed to be ingested by children — while their teeth are developing — in order to be effective. This argument, which also underpinned the introduction of fluoride drops and pills, was based on the belief that ingested fluoride would accumulate in developing teeth and make the fluoride-enriched. teeth stronger for life. Over the past 30 years, however, this theory has been put to the test and almost unanimously rejected by dental researchers (Featherstone 2000; Fejerskov 2004). A new theory has taken its place: Fluoridefs primary benefits do not come from being swallowed, but come instead from being applied topically to the outside of the tooth while in the mouth. While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was late in coming to terms with this new paradigm on fluoride, it finally came on board in 1999. According to a 1999 report issued by the CDC, fluoride’s actions “primarily are topical for both adults and children.” CDC repeated this position again in 2001, stating: “fluoride’s predominant effect is posteruptive and topical.” The implications of this new consensus are as obvious as they are important: If fluoride has little benefit when swallowed, there is no need for a fluoride chemical to ever make it past the mouth and into the bloodstream. As noted by the recent Nobel Laureate in Medicine, Dr. Arvid Carlsson, in pharmacology, if the effect is local, it’s awkward to use it in any other way than as a local treatment. I mean this is obvious. You have the teeth there, they’re available for you, why drink the stuff?. However, despite the fact that CDC is now on record stating fluoride’s benefits are primarily topical, a study published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry reports that most practicing dentists and dental hygienists are not yet aware of this development. According to the study . which surveyed dentists and dental hygienists from Indiana and Illinois — only a small minority of dental professionals are aware of the new research. In Indiana, for example, only 25% of surveyed dentists correctly identified the topical effect of fluoride, while in Illinois, the respective figure was just 14%. According to
the authors:
“Our main findings are
a) that in 2005, 4 years following the release of the CDC’s sentinel recommendations, a considerable proportion of dental professionals in Indiana still did not understand fluoride’s predominant mode of action.”
Not only were the dentists behind in their knowledge of fluoride research, but the survey also found they didn’t even know basic information about fluoride, such as how much fluoride is in toothpaste or high-fluoride gels.

b) As noted by the authors: “Another important finding was the inability of respondents to correctly identify the concentration of commonly used fluoride products.” This raises the question: If, after 60 years of water fluoridation, most dentists still donft know how fluoride actually works, or how much fluoride is in the products they prescribe, what else do they not know? Do they know how fluoride affects other tissues in the body besides the teeth?
REFERENCE: 7) Yoder KM, et al. (2007). Knowledge and use of fluoride among Indiana dental professionals. Journal of Public Health Dentistry 67(3):140-7.

August 19, 2010 | 2:02 PM

Untested and unregulated Sodium Fluoride sourced from China – this is what the city of sac knowingly adds to our drinking water.
Why is the city council igorning all the recent studies in peer-reviewed medical literature indicating that fluoridated drinking water can have detrimental side effects. Health risks associated with low-to-moderate doses of fluoride include: dental fluorosis; bone fracture; bone cancer; joint pain; skin rash, reduced thyroid activity; and IQ deficits.

The city council has been recently informed of all the dangers but continues to brush off any criticism of water fluoridation. Professional scientists, doctors, and yes – dentists have all spoken out recently against continuing water fluoridation.

Fluoridation is a bad medical practice. It is unethical, ineffective, and poses serious health dangers, especially for vulnerable subsets of the population. Instead of science, we get its promotion via a long list of dated endorsements, from associations and agencies, most of which are not on top of the current primary literature and who take the word of the ADA and CDC on this issue, at face value.
It seems the city council is spellbound by the unqualified fluoride salesmen over professionals who are trying to protect us. What will it take for them to wake up?

For those who fear a dental crisis if fluoridation is stopped, it should be noted that at least 5 modern studies have shown that when fluoridation is stopped, tooth decay has not gone up

Watch 15 scientists explaining why fluoridation is a risky and inappropriate medical practice. These scientists include one Nobel Prize winner, three members of a National Research Council committee that published a groundbreaking report on fluoride’s toxicity in 2006, and two former EPA scientists. see video

See over 2,700 Professionals call for an end to fluoridation of drinking water

The EPA headquarters professionals’ union opposes fluoridation

More Links:

August 19, 2010 | 11:18 AM

Thank you for proving my point to Nys Cof…

August 19, 2010 | 2:33 PM

Not for Children Under 1 year of Age

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), children under 1 year of age should not receive infant formula made with fluoridated water. Babies exposed to fluoridated water are at high risk of developing dental fluorosis – a tooth defect caused by fluoride-induced cell damage within the teeth. Other harm is also likely. According, for example, to the US National Research Council, “it is apparent that fluorides can interfere with the functions of the brain.” The danger that fluoride poses to the brain is likely greatest during fetal and infant development, as during this time the barrier which protects the child’s brain from environmental toxins is not yet fully formed. Thus, chemicals that find their way into a baby’s bloodstream can penetrate into the brain.

see links above

August 19, 2010 | 5:02 PM

OMG, here we go. A perfect example of scare tactics and cherry-picking the literature. The fact is that ADA made the infant fluoride advisory not because fluoride is “bad for babies”, but because powered formula already has fluoride in it, so if parents mix it with fluoridated water then babies could get more than recommended. If it were bad for babies they would have advised parents not to use powered formula period. Or, not to put plain fluoridated water in bottles. But that’s not what they said, they simply advised that parent should not mix the two to ensure that babies only get the RIGHT AMOUNT, not too much. That is a far cry from saying they shouldn’t get any or that it is bad for them. And sorry, fluorosis is a cosmetic defect only, has absolutely no health consequence whatsoever.

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August 19, 2010 | 3:31 PM

A dentist says this: ” Please check out the real facts- the peer-reviewed, science-based evidence and decide for yourself”. ? Huh?! So, can that dentist provide one, just ONE peer -reviewed, science based, published study that proves that fluorosilicic acid in the drinking water is good for the teeth? He should be very proud to be the one that reveals to the world the existence of such a study.

August 19, 2010 | 5:12 PM

Sorry baj, I’m not a dentist, just a well-informed, reasonable, non-conspiracy theory, information seeking consumer who knows this field.

Selected citations (not complete list-not enough time or space to list them all):
Burt, BA. Fluoridation and social equity. J Public Health Dent 2002;62(4): 195-200
Slade GD, Spencer AJ, Davies MJ, Stewart JF. Influence of exposure to fluoridated water on socio-economic inequities in children’s caries experience. Community Dent Oral epidemiol 1996;24:89-100.
Horowitz HS. The effectiveness of community water fluoridation in the United States. J Public Health 2000;21:403-36.
Newbrun E. Effectiveness of water fluoridation. J Public Health Dent 1989;49(5):279-89.
Brunelle JA, Carlos JP. Recent trends in dental caries in US children and the effect of water fluoridation. J Dent Res 1990;69(Spec Iss(:723-7.

Profile photo of P W
August 19, 2010 | 3:32 PM

Murphy’s Law #421: The more hairbrained the conspiracy theory; the more verbose are those of it’s proponents.

August 19, 2010 | 5:28 PM

hey DentalGuy if you are “well-informed, reasonable, non-conspiracy theory, information seeking consumer who knows this field” then please tell me what Dental Fluorosis is. I have it,,, and I meet other people every week or so who also have the condition, and don’t even know it. So no scientist, doctor, dentist or self proclaimed “well-informed consumer” like you will ever convince me that ingesting fluoride in any way benefits my teeth.

August 20, 2010 | 4:03 AM

– On April 12, 2010, Time magazine listed fluoride as one of the “Top Ten Common Household Toxins” and described fluoride as both “neurotoxic and potentially tumorigenic if swallowed.”

– Water fluoride chemicals boosts lead absorption in lab animals’ bones, teeth and blood, was reported by Sawan, et al. (Toxicology 2/2010). Earlier studies already show children’s blood-lead-levels are higher in fluoridated communities, reports Sawan’s research team.

– State University of New York researchers found more premature births in fluoridated than non-fluoridated upstate New York communities, according to a presentation made at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting on November 9, 2009 in Philadelphia.

– New York State Department of Health dentist J. V. Kumar published national statistics in the July 2009 Journal of the American Dental Association which show similar cavity rates regardless of water fluoride content, However, dental fluorosis rates increased along with water fluoride levels. See analysis “Fluoridation No Benefit; Definite Harm,” by Kathleen M. Thiessen, Ph.D., SENES Oak Ridge, Inc., Center for Risk Analysis here:

– The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Canada’s leading voice on environmental health issues, released a statement opposing fluoridation. (2)

– May 2009, Great Lakes United (GLU) supports the end of water fluoridation. GLU is made up organizations representing environmentalists, conservationists, hunters and anglers, labor unions, community groups, and citizens of the United States, Canada, and First Nations and Tribes. (13)

– The National Kidney Foundation dropped its fluoridation support replacing it with this caution: “Individuals with CKD [Chronic Kidney Disease] should be notified of the potential risk of fluoride exposure.” (3)

– Researchers reported in the Oct 6 2007 British Medical Journal that fluoridation never was proven safe or effective and may be unethical. (4)

– “A qualitative review of …studies found a consistent and strong association between the exposure to fluoride and low IQ,” concluded Tang el al., in “Fluoride and Children’s Intelligence: A Meta-analysis” in Biological Trace Element Research (5)

– Scientific American editors wrote in January 2008, “Some recent studies suggest that over-consumption of fluoride can raise the risks of disorders affecting teeth, bones, the brain and the thyroid gland”

– Dr. A. K. Susheela, a leading fluoride expert, explains in a video why US physicians overlook fluoride as a possible cause of diseases commonly caused by fluoride.

– A study in the Fall 2008 Journal of Public Health Dentistry reveals that cavity-free teeth have little to do with fluoride intake. Researchers report, “The benefits of fluoride are mostly topical…while fluorosis is clearly more dependent on fluoride intake.”

– Research published in Biological Trace Element Research (April 2009). indicates that blood fluoride levels were significantly higher in patients with osteosarcoma than in control groups. (13) Osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, occurs mostly in children and young adults

– All infant formula, whether concentrated or not, contain fluoride at levels that can discolor teeth – even organic, according to research published in the October 2009 Journal of the American Dental Association. (16)

– A Tennessee State legislator, Joey Hensley, who is also an MD is urging all Tennessee Water Districts to stop fluoridation, reported a Tennessee newspaper on 11/29/08. At least 30 Tennessee water districts have already complied with his request.(6)

– Mt Pleasant, Michigan Fluoride Commission votes to suspend fluoridation (17)

– Crowley, Louisiana suspends fluoridation. (18)

– Sandpoint, Iowa stops fluoridation July 2010 (19)

On 1/5/09, the Burlington Board of Health recommended that Burlington cease fluoridation because fluoridation can harm some people. (7)

On 1/6/09, a Canadian town, Drayton, stopped fluoridation, not to save money, but because it was in the best interests of residents, said the Mayor. (8)

The Arkansas Oral Health Director is accused of giving eight “false or misleading statements” on fluoridation to an Arkansas legislative Committee. (12)

August 20, 2010 | 9:09 AM

Bottom line – nearly 3/4 of all Americans drink fluoridated water in the US, and closer to home 59% of Californians. Honestly, just step back and think about it. Do you really think in today’s hypersensitive, over regulated, government controlled environment that they would allow 3/4 of the US population to continue to be ‘poisoned’. California’s fluoridation rate has increased from roughly 27% in 2000 to 59% today. This is California! If fluoride were the evil that you suggest, I hardly doubt California would be increasing their fluoridation rate. It just doesn’t add up.

August 20, 2010 | 8:40 AM

Will “dental guy” Respect Anyone?

If you find it hard to understand why people object to fluoridation then you obviously have no idea about respect for other people. It is really very simple – most people do not want someone spiking their drink or telling them they have to take a medication because someone else thinks it’s good. You cannot walk into someone’s house and put a fluoride tablet in a drink without their permission, so why on earth would it be alright to do it through the public water supply? We all pay for the water. If you want fluoride, then go eat some toothpaste, but stop trying to force your beliefs onto other people.
If you do not understand this – maybe you should talk to your local clergyman or therapist.

August 20, 2010 | 9:24 AM

Public health is not a belief system, it is a societal norm. I get frustrated with those of you opposed to fluoride because you’ve singled out this issue from all the others based on some really questionable ‘science’ and some large international anti-fluoride group scare tactics. If you want to object to fluoridation, then why don’t you object to the other chemicals that are used to create safe drinking water, like chlorine. Why not be advocating that the water should be delivered to homes untouched from any processing. Or why don’t you oppose smoking ordinances in public places, or seat belts, or motorcycle helmets, or vaccines against polio, or menu labeling, or, or, or…. If you are a true libertarian and don’t want any public health measures to be forced upon you, I can totally respect that position and have no qualm with you opposing fluoride. But I find it disingenuous to focus in on one additive as the whipping post of your objection. Fluoride is a natural mineral found in natural water supplies and community water fluoridation is simply adjusting that level to an optimal level for oral health. Fluoride is not medication! There are lots things that public health does to us to keep us healthy and safe without our permission. Those decisions are made by policy makers who decide when it is in societies best interest. Hey, I don’t like big government either, but I do believe that there is an appropriate role for government to protect and advance the health of the public. That approach to policy making has served us well and is the reason why diseases like polio no longer exist. Fluoridation is no different.

August 21, 2010 | 10:38 PM

RE: DentalGuy,,, Suuuuurre,,, public health is a “societal norm” and everybody on top does everything for the good of the people. You must also support the Family Planning Act of 1970 which legalized the use of federal funds to secretly and forcefully sterilize 40% of Native American women or John P. Holdren’s ideas on compulsory sterilization, if you know what I’m talking about. You are an optimist and I sympathize with you, I used to be one myself until I was personally affected.

“Fluoride is not medication!”????? “a natural mineral” ????? ladies and gentlemen this is a scientific breakthrough Phosphate Fertilizer Industry is now producing a “natural” waste byproduct LOL, DentalGuy who are you kidding. As others have said before Sacramento purchases synthetic fluoride from China, this stuff

February 17, 2011 | 11:03 AM

Hey DentalGuy the mainstream media is catching up are you? come on, get off the fluoride train

ABC: US Government Recommends Reducing Fluoride Intake

AP: US Says Too Much Fluoride in Water

AP: Too Much Fluoride Causing Splotchy Teeth

FOX: USA Admits Adding Fluoride To Water is Damaging Teeth

August 21, 2010 | 7:51 AM

i have waited to comment on this because i wanted to see what people were going to say regarding our drinking water. first, i am in the water/wastewater industry. i have helped design and build water wells, pump stations, treatment plants and any other collection and treatment systems when it comes to our drinking water and disposing of it. now i can’t attest to what fluoride does or does not do for i am not a scientist. and for every article and/or finding you can come up with that says fluoride is bad for you, there are studies that say the complete opposite. welcome to science. so i don’t want to argue that point. but why single-out fluoride. do you know what other chemicals are found in your drinking water? try:

sodium bisulfite
sodium hypochlorite
and the list keeps going

america and california still have the cleanest drinking water in the world. people in africa would drink a barrel of fluoride compared to the disease infested, untreated groundwater they drink. or what about our friendly neighbors to the south, mexico. i am sure you have all heard of the term “montezuma’s revenge”. that isn’t from tacos.

most of the sacramento areas drinking water comes straight out of the ground with little or no treatment at all. it is pumped from the ground to a storage tank. from there maybe some chemicals are pumped in (but this is only to meet the CPDH minimum drinking requirements of either parts per million or parts per billion depending upon the chemical used or being treated for). there are large water treatment plants in the area (like fairbain or san juan) that actually use a full-blown water treatment plant. and the only reason chemicals are dumped into the water there is to prevent lime build-up in the distrubution piping. it would be very bad to replace 50 miles of 72″ pipe because of blockage in the line. most of the treatment is done via clarifiers and separators.

is fluoride bad? i am sure it ain’t great for us. any chemical you put in your body will have some effect on your system. i suggest you call your local water agency’s general manager or take a tour of a water treatment plant (they will do that for the public) and learn a little but about where your water comes from.

August 21, 2010 | 7:09 PM

Just think of that mess in Pakistan. No clean water but in about 1/3 of Africa. They would love to have any sort of halfway clean water that didn’t give them cholera!

August 21, 2010 | 7:04 PM

New Orleans water used to smell like rotten eggs, in the 1970s. You could smell it running in your sink across the room!!! I hope it has improved, but seeing what has happened in the ensuing years, I think those foks are still buying bottled water. Now their water may have “erl” in it as well.

August 21, 2010 | 9:40 PM

DentalGuy, please answer my question, do you know what Dental Fluorosis is? I’m only asking you about one side effect, the one you can see. You can research the other side effects yourself. Will pictures and X-rays of my teeth convince you that ingesting synthetic (Chinese) fluoride damages teeth?

August 21, 2010 | 11:00 PM

Isn’t it strange, doctors cannot force one person to take a drug, yet the government wants to force everyone to be drugged with fluoride, a prescription drug, against their will and with no medical supervision, no control over how much you consume and no treatment for side effects.
The fluoridation of drinking water is one of the cruelest hoaxes ever perpetrated against the public in the history of mankind. Fluoride used is actually an industrial waste product from the manufacture of fertilizer and aluminum, and is second to mercury as the most toxic substance known. It contains lead, arsenic, mercury, radium, and other contaminants. Most of Europe (16 countries) has rejected fluoridation and is 98% fluoride free. and the WHO reports that they have a better tooth decay rate than any fluoridated country.
There is no scientific evidence to support the idea that drinking fluoridated water has any effect on cavity reduction — NONE! Please don’t take my word for it; do some of your own research. The best source for information on the health hazards and ineffectiveness of fluoridation can be found here: (

August 21, 2010 | 11:31 PM


August 25, 2010 | 12:26 PM

The fact that you list as your source of ‘research’ validates every one of my previous points…

September 6, 2010 | 5:48 PM

DentalGuy you are confusing the site to fluoridealert.COOOOOM which is a pharming website created by the ADA that redirects you to their site which praises fluoride

P.S. you still have not answered my question

August 21, 2010 | 11:48 PM

They’re trying to take my essence!

Profile photo of P W
September 1, 2010 | 12:31 PM

Wish they’d shtart putting shome MShG into our water. Might tashte a little better.

September 6, 2010 | 5:51 PM
October 30, 2010 | 12:47 AM

I just don’t understand why we are being mass medicated without consent. If a person feels that fluoride is a necessary part of their diet he/she should be able to buy it over the counter or get a prescription for it just like any other supplement or drug. To me it’s the same as if they decided to add Prozac to the water to help make everyone happier, it’s just insanity. Also why is dental health so important to our society that we would risk our physical health just to have the possibility of slightly stronger teeth or prettier smiles?

February 17, 2011 | 11:00 AM

Hey DentalGuy the mainstream media is catching up are you?

ABC: US Government Recommends Reducing Fluoride Intake

AP: US Says Too Much Fluoride in Water

AP: Too Much Fluoride Causing Splotchy Teeth

FOX: USA Admits Adding Fluoride To Water is Damaging Teeth

August 17, 2011 | 7:37 PM

We need to start a concerted effort to get rid of fluoride in our water. I’m sick of having to buy special filters to remove the forced medication I am subjected to. Maybe we should start a meetup or something? Are there any Sacramento city council members who might favor our cause? It’s time for action!

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