WOODSTOCK – Public health has issued a health advisory due to elevated fluoride and sodium levels in water in several communities.
But, they explained, the higher levels are “nothing new.”
The annual advisories are the result of a request last year at a public meeting in Ingersoll.
“We are issuing health advisories as a reminder on an annual basis,” said Oxford program supervisor of health Peter Heywood said.
Heywood said fluoride levels have tested above maximum acceptable concentrations of 1.5 mg/L in several communities.
“The fluoride is naturally present in the water,” Heywood said. “Bacteriology levels are not affected (by the sodium).”
In Brownsville levels are 1.8 mg/L, in Ingersoll 1.2 to 1.9 mg/L, in Lakeside 1.6 mg/L and in South Oxford — including Norwich, Otterville and Springford — levels range from 0.8 to 1.6 mg/L.
The Ministry of the Environment states that water supplies that contain naturally occurring fluoride between 1.5 and 2.4mg/L are considered acceptable to drink but public health is advising parents to cut back on other sources of fluoride for child under the age of six to protect against fluorosis.
Fluorosis is a cosmetic condition that causes white flecks on the teeth.
Those recommendations include replacing tap water with bottled water for baby formula and using a non-fluoride toothpaste.
Sodium is also higher than the recommended levels of 20mg/L in several communities, including some areas of Woodstock and Tillsonburg.
While higher sodium levels do not affect the safety of local water, the medical officer of health is required to inform health professionals.
In Bright sodium levels have reached 48mg/L, in Brownsville 78mg/L, in Ingersoll they range between 40 to 88mg/L, in Thamesford 33mg/L, while in Norwich, Otterville and Springford levels range from 20mg/L to 44mg/L.
Public health explained that for those on sodium-restricted diets the amount of sodium in the water could be “significant.”
According to manager of water service Deb Goudreau, Oxford’s water is tested on a rotating basis every five years for fluoride and sodium levels.