Since we arrived in the US in November I’ve been full time dedicated to look for our new house in San Francisco Bay. In the past six weeks I’ve seen close to 70 properties and I’ve met with many realtors, landlords and a few relocation agents too. Most of them were very friendly, some more than others; but in general they were all pretty normal, with just one exception.
A few weeks ago I found a two story townhouse in Mountain View. The location was great, the description and price sounded right for what we were looking for, so I requested an appointment.
When the owner opened me the door, she seemed nice and safe enough to follow her inside. She gave me the standard tour and then she suggested to confirm details and talk about the application process. Until here all pretty normal, and then, she suddenly changed and started singing the praises of living in Mountain View, which I had heard before until she mentioned the water:
Mountain View has the best water in the world.
And with this introduction she jumped to:
The water here has amazing properties. It will grow your hair and nails stronger. The city has money so they enrich the water with minerals and other substances so it makes you healthier.
She really looked convinced when she went on and on for the following ten minutes about how she had to get her kids haircuts ofter than when she was living outside the US and how their nails grow faster.
I listened to her while thinking how to politely put an end to the conversation and run away fast from this crazy lady and her theory of the magical water. It took me 15 more minutes to escape but I did in the end, safe and sound thank God. After that, I convinced myself that this lady’s magical water was just an anecdote and I decided to forget about it. And I did until two days later when visiting another house the realtor said:
The kitchen has a water filter system. The owner didn’t like to drink the city’s enriched water, so he had it installed a few years ago.
A water filter? The owner didn’t like to drink the city’s enriched water? Is it actually possible that the crazy lady was right about the water? Is the water here actually enriched with something that has some impact on the growth of my hair and nails?
As the Germans would say: “Jein” which is a combination of Ja (=yes) and Nein (=no). The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission distributes fluoridated water and Mountain View fluoridates the water delivered from the Santa Clara Water District. And according to Wikipedia:
Fluoridation is the controlled addition of fluoride to a public water supply to reduce tooth decay
So, yes, the city enriches the water to reduce tooth decay. Fluoride is what your toothpaste usually contains to help prevent cavities, which makes sense in the toothpaste, but does it in the water? I don’t know but they do it anyway. This came as shock because in Europe most countries don’t put fluoride in the water or anything else for that matter.
But apparently in the US this is a standard practice. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, part of the Department of Health and Human Services of the US Government recognized:
water fluoridation as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century
However there is an open debate about its real benefits. For example, according to the World Health Organization, there is not a clear evidence of lower tooth decay rates in those countries with fluoridated water.
I am unsure which side to take, do you agree or disagree with the benefits of fluoride in your water? But in the meantime let me tell you that according to the Water Quality Report:
The City of Mountain View is committed to providing its customers with a safe and reliable supply of high-quality drinking water that meets Federal and State standards
After you have glanced over the water quality reports of the above links, you learn that they are all similar and in the end, they have to be since the water supply in Silicon Valley comes from the same sources: the SFPUC and the SCVWD.
Having read so much about the fluoridation of the water in the US, and of course in the Silicon Valley, I still haven’t found any reference about my crazy lady’s theory of the magical water. She was right about the government enriching the water, but she got the whole water benefits completely wrong:
Dear crazy lady,
By drinking this water, your kids may get fewer cavities. But their hair and nails will still grow at the standard pace.
A European in San Francisco