New Democrats call for regular water testing in B.C. schools

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VICTORIA— New Democrat MLA Jennifer Rice introduced a bill today that would prevent more children being exposed to elevated lead levels in their drinking water.

“Parents in this province should have peace of mind when they send their children off to school. They should have confidence that every possible measure is being taken to keep them safe. Right now, Christy Clark and her government are refusing to address the problem of water contamination in schools, and that refusal is putting children at risk,” said Rice.

In recent months, British Columbians were shocked to learn that lead had been discovered in the water at several B.C. schools. At a school in Prince Rupert, the problem was only uncovered through a classroom science experiment gone wrong in a Kitimat school in 2012. The Ministry of Health responded by calling for routine testing of drinking water in schools in 2014, but today, that testing still does not exist.

“The fact is, we don’t know the full extent of this problem in this province. We need to find out, and the only way to do that is by regularly testing the water quality in B.C. schools. TheSafe Water for Schools Act would ensure that that happens,” said Rice.

“What we do know is that elevated lead levels in our schools is a problem we should take extremely seriously. Lead exposure in childhood has been associated with behavioural disorders and lower intelligence scores. But right now, the only people testing the water in our schools are kids performing classroom science experiments. It’s wrong, and it’s past time the Christy Clark government fixed it.”

Click here to watch Jennifer Rice introduce the Safe Water for Schools Act in the legislature.