Experts at Montreal's Polytechnique School have discovered a troubling pattern in the city's school. According to their latest report on the presence of contaminants in Montreal's tap water, some 16% of schools in the city have at least one lead-contaminated tap.
According to a report from CBC News, though data on tap water quality in schools was limited, the risks need to be taken seriously because children are among the most vulnerable to lead poisoning. With frequent lead exposure, children can potentially lose between one and seven IQ points.
Repairing and testing tap water quality costs very little and experts say that measures must be taken as soon as possible to ensure the quality of water for school children. In most cases, repairs are as simple as replacing the tap.
The study, conducted by the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) in 2017, evaluated the tap water quality of 51 primary schools in Montreal.
By testing the taps at the onset of water flow and after a minute of flow, they found that in 16% of schools, at least one tap was lead-contaminated.
Michèle Prévost, a professor of civil engineering at Polytechnique Montreal, said that schools should be aware enough to restrict access to contaminated taps. She also said that in 95% of cases, all the school has to do is replace the faucet or the fountain itself.
Some of the tested samples showed over 10 µg/L of lead contamination. INSPQ states that the study should be carefully interpreted because the results may vary from one tap to the other.
While it's not an exact science, schools would do well to consistently test the quality of their tap water, since Montreal is a bit of a hot spot for the occasional boil water advisory.
The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is already taking steps to mitigate potential problems with tap water quality. According to CBC News, the EMSB is set to replace all drinking fountains with filtered water stations to ensure a high-quality water supply.
If you're concerned about your tap water potentially being contaminated, it's a really simple and cheap fix. In most cases, all you have to do is replace the tap!
Stay tuned for more news.