Many children in schools and daycares across Canada are likely being exposed to dangerous levels of lead in their drinking water and don’t know it, because most provinces aren’t requiring comprehensive testing at the taps, according to a collection of provincial studies and internal briefing material. The internal briefing material included memos and other advice prepared for high-ranking government officials in several provinces. These documents were released through freedom of information legislation to Global News as part of a joint year-long investigation into drinking water in partnership with Concordia University’s Institute for Investigative Journalism and other media organizations.
Thousands of Quebecers could be getting misleading information about lead contamination in the water coming out of their taps because the province uses a sampling method that underestimates the true level of exposure, Global News has found through surveys and 84 tests of residential drinking water conducted in five cities across the province. The revelations are based on a collaborative investigation by a team of two dozen journalists from Concordia University’s Institute for Investigative Journalism, Global News and Le Devoir. The journalists fanned out across the province to knock on hundreds of doors, taking water samples for testing that revealed lead levels often higher than city workers had told residents.