Canadians drinking lead-tainted water
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 11/05/19, 11:43 am
Lax drinking water standards have exposed hundreds of thousands of Canadians to higher levels of lead than those found in Flint, Mich. More than 120 journalists from nine universities and 10 media organizations reviewed 12,000 water tests since 2014 and found 33 percent exceeded the Canadian guideline of 5 parts lead per billion parts water, while 18 percent surpassed the U.S. limit of 15 parts per billion.
What caused the problem? Canada is one of the only developed countries that doesn’t have a nationwide drinking water standard. Instead, provinces set their own rules. Some 500,000 lead service pipes are still transporting water to people in the country, an expert revealed at a government hearing. A 2017 study showed 18 out of 150 day cares in the province of Alberta had lead levels above 5 ppb, which researchers consider risky for infants and toddlers.
Dig deeper: Read Evan Wilt’s report from 2016 for WORLD Digital on how aging drinking water systems affected Flint and threatened several other U.S. cities.
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.