In a country known for its crystal clear lakes, Canada, making more than a few negative headlines this year, has found that over a third of its tested drinking and cooking water is contaminated with lead.
It was not Canada that uncovered the crisis, but rather a team of over 100 investigative journalists from across the country. In a year long investigation they found that hundreds of thousands of Canadians had unknowingly been exposed to dangerous amounts of lead in their water. In some places the lead traces were found to be way higher than Flint, Michigans ever was.
The journalists collected test results that properly measure exposure to lead in 11 cities across Canada. Specifically the study shows that out of 12,000 tests since 2014, 33% exceeded the Canadian safety guideline of 5 parts per billion; 18% exceeded the U.S. limit of 15 ppb.
The investigation found some schools and day care centers had lead levels so high that researchers noted it could impact children’s health. Student Sara Rana said “I was getting poisoned for four years and did not know about it.” Lead exposure to young children can lead to behavioral problems, lower IQ, hearing loss, learning disabilities, and decreased muscle and bone growth. Higher levels of lead can lead to death.
What’s worse? Canada contributes 7% of the world’s renewable freshwater supply, but does not even hold a national water safety standards. The cause of the lead?: Failing infrastructure. There are clear cracks in Canada’s infrastructure and it’s starting to affect its residents. Not to mention Canada’s recently re-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was exposed wearing blackface many times in early 2000. Simply put, Canada is crumbling.