Some concerns are being raised after higher than recommended levels of lead have been found in some Comox Valley schools’ drinking water.

A collection of provincial studies and other materials released through freedom of information legislation sought out by Global News showed that many children in schools could be exposed to dangerous levels of lead in their drinking water.

In B.C, schools are required to test their lead ppb(parts per billion) levels and data collected by the BC Ministry of Education showed that some Comox schools are seeing levels up to four times the recommended amount.

The tests were conducted on September 7th, 2017 and five Comox schools recorded levels above the Health Canada Recommendation of 5 ppb(The recommendation changed to five ppb from 10 ppb in March of 2019).

The schools that tested above the Health Canada threshold include Airport Elementary School, Lake Trail Middle School, Courtenay Elementary, Highland Secondary, and Cumberland Elementary.

Seven other Comox schools recorded levels at or below the recommendation, including Ecole Puntledge Park School, Miracle Beach Elementary, Cumberland Middle School, North Island Distance Education School, Royston Elementary, Ecole Robb Road, and Vanier Secondary.

Specific ppb numbers can be seen below.

Parts Per Billion levels recorded on September 7th, 2017:

  1. Airport Elementary: 24 ppb
  2. Lake Trail Middle School: 22 ppb
  3. Courtenay Elementary: 16 ppb
  4. *Highland Secondary: 8 ppb
  5. *Cumberland Elementary: 6 ppb
  6. Ecole Puntledge Park School: 5 ppb
  7. Miracle Beach Elementary: 3 ppb
  8. Cumberland Middle School: 2 ppb
  9. North Island Distance Education School: 2 ppb
  10. Royston Elementary: 1 ppb
  11. Ecole Robb Road: 1 ppb
  12. Vanier Secondary: 0 ppb

*It’s important to note that both Highland Secondary and Cumberland Elementary recorded levels below the 2017 recommendation of 10 ppb, but still measured over the current 5 ppb recommendation at the time of testing.

In children, high levels of lead can be very dangerous. It has been linked to causing behavioural problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Many have voiced concerns saying immediate action is required to make sure all schools fall under the Health Canada recommendation of five ppb.