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Fluoridation

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in drinking water and food. Many water agencies throughout the world add fluoride to public water systems to improve dental health.

Anaheim’s water contains between 0.3 to 0.4 parts per million (ppm) of naturally occurring fluoride. One ppm is roughly equivalent to one drop in 10 gallons. Anaheim does not fluoridate its water supply.

Bottled water generally does not contain fluoride. Many water bottlers treat their water using reverse osmosis, an effective method for removing fluoride, as well as other minerals, from water. However, some bottlers may add fluoride back into the water. In those cases the label will indicate that fluoride was added.

According to the California Department of Public Health, fluoride in drinking water at concentrations between 0.7 and 1.2 ppm provides optimal protection for teeth. At levels above 2 ppm, mild dental fluorosis, a form of pitting or discoloration of the teeth, may occur. California has established a Maximum Contaminant Level of 2 ppm for fluoride.

In 1997, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment conducted follow-up analyses of fluoride and established a Public Health Goal of 1 ppm, the level below which there is no known or expected health risk.

While most public health organizations, including the American Dental Association, endorse fluoridation, some citizen groups oppose it. Among other issues, opposition groups claim fluoride can cause bone cancer or general bone weakness. There are numerous articles about fluoride, both pro and con, available on the internet.

In 1995, California legislators enacted AB733, requiring all public water systems with greater than 10,000 connections to fluoridate their water once the State provided funding. Anaheim does not have any immediate plans to initiate fluoridation of its water supply.

In February 2003, at the urging of County health officials and the City of Los Angeles, Metropolitan Water District (MWD) decided to supplement the naturally occurring fluoride, which ranges from 0.1 and 0.4 ppm, by bringing the fluoride level up to 0.7 to 0.8 ppm. MWD initiated delivery of fluoridated water to its member agencies in late October 2007. MWD began deliveries of fluoridated water to Anaheim and most of Orange County on November 19, 2007. MWD treated water accounts for less than 15% of Anaheim’s annual water supply and can be delivered to any part of Anaheim depending on water demands and the availability of our other water sources.

If you are concerned about MWD’s fluoridation policy, you can obtain more information from MWD's Web site or you may contact MWD directly by dialing the agency's Water Quality Information Line at
1-800-354-4420.

April 2, 2014