Minister of Health dismisses lead concerns

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VICTORIA— For the second day in a row, Health Minister Terry Lake, dismissed community concerns about elevated lead levels found in four Prince Rupert schools, says North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice.

“It’s almost like Minister Lake doesn’t care about the concerns of Prince Rupert parents who were shocked to discover that their children had been drinking water with lead levels well in excess of Health Canada guidelines,” said Rice.

On Tuesday, the School District 52 informed parents of children attending four Prince Rupert schools that recent testing had revealed elevated lead levels in school drinking water. New Democrat Leader John Horgan revealed in the legislature today that the Ministry of Health first learned about the problems from a classroom science experiment in Kitimat back in 2012 and failed to test water in other North West schools until four years later, even though ministry staff had recommended that they do so. Currently, the B.C. Liberal government does not mandate the testing of school drinking water for metals like lead and copper.

The report identified that if the plumbing in children’s homes is similar to that of the school’s older construction – then the cumulative lead levels from both sources would more than double typical total lead intakes.

“Considering that Prince Rupert has the oldest housing stock in the province, lead levels from other sources need to be examined as recommended in the report,” said Rice.

“I asked Minister Lake whether he had tested the water in schools in Queen Charlotte, Masset, Bella Coola and Port Clements, but he refused to answer.

“I think that Minister Lake should respond to community concerns and require the testing of school drinking water in the North West and across B.C.”

The Kitimat report states that exposure in childhood has been associated with lower intelligence scores as well as behavioral disorders such as ADHD and antisocial behavior.


Here is the link to New Democrat Leader John Horgan’s questions

Here is the link to New Democrat North Coast MLA Jen Rice’s questions

Here is a link to the Kitimat report