Lead in School Drinking Water: Canada Can and Should Address This Important Ongoing Exposure Source

Prabjit Barn, Tom Kosatsky


Reducing all preventable lead exposures in children should be a public health priority given that blood lead levels in children that were once considered “safe” have since been associated with important neuro-developmental deficits. Limited Canadian data indicate that school drinking water can be an important component of children’s overall exposure to lead. Outside of Ontario, however, Canadian schools are not required to test for lead in water; in most of Canada, school testing is case by case, typically initiated by parental concerns. Provinces and territories are encouraged to follow Ontario’s example by instituting a routine school water lead testing program in order to identify facilities where action can result in a decrease in students’ exposure to lead. Testing and remediation frameworks developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency, Health Canada, and the province of Ontario provide direction to school boards and local and provincial/territorial health authorities.

Key words: Lead; drinking water; schools


lead; drinking water; schools

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17269/cjph.102.2397