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Fluoride levels cut back in Vermillion water treatment plant

The drop in fluoride levels is a temporary thing connected to construction and equipment upgrades at the Vermillion Water Treatment Plant
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Public Health Sudbury & Districts (PHSD) advises that the fluoride concentrations in the water supply from the Vermilion River Water Treatment Plant, operated by Vale and distributed by the City of Greater Sudbury, are below therapeutic levels for optimal oral health. 

The health unit said the low fluoride levels are believed to be the result of planned equipment upgrades at the plant. This is a temporary measure, said PHSD.

PHSD added the change does not mean there are any immediate health risks to the public. 

"Optimal levels of fluoride are added to drinking water systems as a safe and effective way to prevent tooth decay," said the PHSD news release. 

The reduced fluoride levels mean that residents who receive their water supply from the Vermillion Water Treatment Plant are temporarily not receiving optimal amounts of fluoride through their drinking water. 

PHSD said this includes residents of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek, Copper Cliff, Little Creighton, Lively, Mikkola, Naughton, and Whitefish.

The health unit said that regular reviews of municipal water is carried out in accordance with Ontario Public Health Standards. 

"Public Health Sudbury & Districts reviews drinking water quality reports for all municipal drinking water supplies in which fluoride is added and is required to inform affected residents when fluoride concentrations in their water supply fall below therapeutic levels (0.6ppm) for more than 90 consecutive days," said the news release. 

PHSD also said this issue is anticipated to be temporary. Equipment construction and commissioning are ongoing by the operator and anticipated to be completed by late November. In the interim, the health unit said it will continue to monitor the situation and update the public.

Residents concerned about the change are advised that they continue to receive adequate amounts of fluoride by brushing their teeth with fluoridated toothpaste. 

"Residents at higher risk of tooth decay or who have any concerns about the impact of the reduced fluoride levels on their oral health, may wish to consult their family dentist regarding additional preventive measures. The use of additional products containing fluoride must be recommended by an oral health professional after an assessment of individual oral health and risk for tooth decay," said PHSD.

Children and seniors from low-income households may qualify for preventive oral health services offered by Public Health Sudbury & Districts. For more information about these services, please call 705-522-9200, ext. 236 (toll-free 1-866-522-9200, ext. 236).