Elevated sodium in local drinking water is not a health risk

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Carlisle residents, still shaken from a recent boil water advisory, can expect another water quality notice in their mailboxes. But this time, they can take the information with a grain of salt.

The letters have been sent to notify residents of elevated sodium levels in the water, and will also be arriving in Freelton, Lynden and Greensville.

Under the Drinking Water Act, an official test for sodium must be performed every five years. Hamilton tests quarterly, and posts the results on the city's website. However, public works must notify the Medical Officer of Health if sodium levels show more than 20 mg per litre of water on the official test.

According to Eric Mathews, Manager of the health protection branch for public health and community services, Carlisle's test results came in at roughly 30 mg, with Freelton showing 50 mg, Lynden around 60 mg, and Greensville at 137 mg.

Although the numbers sound high, the sodium does not pose a health risk to the general population.

Put into context, the average sodium intake for a North American lands around 5,000 mg per day, said Mathews. A slice of bread contains 125 mg, a cup of breakfast cereal contains 300 mg and just a teaspoon of table salt contains 2,350 mg.

The levels are within the normal range shown in Hamilton water over the past five years, noted Mathews. Sodium is a naturally existing mineral, needed in small amounts to survive. It dissolves easily in water, so is often found in drinking water supplies.

Although it poses no risk to the general population, the Medical Officer of Health is required to report elevated levels to area physicians because some citizens, such as those with congestive heart failure or high blood pressure, may be on salt restricted diets.

However, due to Flamborough's rural nature, the public health department was concerned that notifying area doctors may not reach the full population. Residents may have doctors in the Kitchener-Waterloo or Halton regions, he noted.

"We felt the best way to get the information out was to notify people directly, so they can discuss this information with their doctors," he said.

"There may be people out there affected by this. There may be someone only allowed 500 mg of sodium or 2,000 mg in a day, who may be affected by this. But we don't know who they are."

The public health department also felt it was important to keep area residents abreast of water issues in their neighbourhood.

"People are informed and educated these days and we need to respect that. It's their water and they should know," he added.

"We feel this isn't a health issue - it's a communication issue," he continued. "We can't see the fault in telling people. We want to be transparent."

The letter is accompanied by an information sheet on the affects of sodium.

Anyone with health concerns can call the contact number provided in the letter, or talk to their physicians.

Elevated sodium in local drinking water is not a health risk

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Carlisle residents, still shaken from a recent boil water advisory, can expect another water quality notice in their mailboxes. But this time, they can take the information with a grain of salt.

The letters have been sent to notify residents of elevated sodium levels in the water, and will also be arriving in Freelton, Lynden and Greensville.

Under the Drinking Water Act, an official test for sodium must be performed every five years. Hamilton tests quarterly, and posts the results on the city's website. However, public works must notify the Medical Officer of Health if sodium levels show more than 20 mg per litre of water on the official test.

According to Eric Mathews, Manager of the health protection branch for public health and community services, Carlisle's test results came in at roughly 30 mg, with Freelton showing 50 mg, Lynden around 60 mg, and Greensville at 137 mg.

Although the numbers sound high, the sodium does not pose a health risk to the general population.

Put into context, the average sodium intake for a North American lands around 5,000 mg per day, said Mathews. A slice of bread contains 125 mg, a cup of breakfast cereal contains 300 mg and just a teaspoon of table salt contains 2,350 mg.

The levels are within the normal range shown in Hamilton water over the past five years, noted Mathews. Sodium is a naturally existing mineral, needed in small amounts to survive. It dissolves easily in water, so is often found in drinking water supplies.

Although it poses no risk to the general population, the Medical Officer of Health is required to report elevated levels to area physicians because some citizens, such as those with congestive heart failure or high blood pressure, may be on salt restricted diets.

However, due to Flamborough's rural nature, the public health department was concerned that notifying area doctors may not reach the full population. Residents may have doctors in the Kitchener-Waterloo or Halton regions, he noted.

"We felt the best way to get the information out was to notify people directly, so they can discuss this information with their doctors," he said.

"There may be people out there affected by this. There may be someone only allowed 500 mg of sodium or 2,000 mg in a day, who may be affected by this. But we don't know who they are."

The public health department also felt it was important to keep area residents abreast of water issues in their neighbourhood.

"People are informed and educated these days and we need to respect that. It's their water and they should know," he added.

"We feel this isn't a health issue - it's a communication issue," he continued. "We can't see the fault in telling people. We want to be transparent."

The letter is accompanied by an information sheet on the affects of sodium.

Anyone with health concerns can call the contact number provided in the letter, or talk to their physicians.

Elevated sodium in local drinking water is not a health risk

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Carlisle residents, still shaken from a recent boil water advisory, can expect another water quality notice in their mailboxes. But this time, they can take the information with a grain of salt.

The letters have been sent to notify residents of elevated sodium levels in the water, and will also be arriving in Freelton, Lynden and Greensville.

Under the Drinking Water Act, an official test for sodium must be performed every five years. Hamilton tests quarterly, and posts the results on the city's website. However, public works must notify the Medical Officer of Health if sodium levels show more than 20 mg per litre of water on the official test.

According to Eric Mathews, Manager of the health protection branch for public health and community services, Carlisle's test results came in at roughly 30 mg, with Freelton showing 50 mg, Lynden around 60 mg, and Greensville at 137 mg.

Although the numbers sound high, the sodium does not pose a health risk to the general population.

Put into context, the average sodium intake for a North American lands around 5,000 mg per day, said Mathews. A slice of bread contains 125 mg, a cup of breakfast cereal contains 300 mg and just a teaspoon of table salt contains 2,350 mg.

The levels are within the normal range shown in Hamilton water over the past five years, noted Mathews. Sodium is a naturally existing mineral, needed in small amounts to survive. It dissolves easily in water, so is often found in drinking water supplies.

Although it poses no risk to the general population, the Medical Officer of Health is required to report elevated levels to area physicians because some citizens, such as those with congestive heart failure or high blood pressure, may be on salt restricted diets.

However, due to Flamborough's rural nature, the public health department was concerned that notifying area doctors may not reach the full population. Residents may have doctors in the Kitchener-Waterloo or Halton regions, he noted.

"We felt the best way to get the information out was to notify people directly, so they can discuss this information with their doctors," he said.

"There may be people out there affected by this. There may be someone only allowed 500 mg of sodium or 2,000 mg in a day, who may be affected by this. But we don't know who they are."

The public health department also felt it was important to keep area residents abreast of water issues in their neighbourhood.

"People are informed and educated these days and we need to respect that. It's their water and they should know," he added.

"We feel this isn't a health issue - it's a communication issue," he continued. "We can't see the fault in telling people. We want to be transparent."

The letter is accompanied by an information sheet on the affects of sodium.

Anyone with health concerns can call the contact number provided in the letter, or talk to their physicians.