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Lead in Drinking Water: A Response from the Atlantic PATH Study

Lead in Drinking Water: A Response from the Atlantic PATH Study

Authors: Sweeney, E., Yu, Z.M., Dummer, T., Parker, L. (2017).

Journal: Environmental Health Review, 60(1). doi:

Abstract: Exposure to lead through drinking water is an issue of increasing concern, particularly with recent high-profile cases of lead-contaminated water. The maximum acceptable concentration level for drinking water in Canada is 10 µg/L, whereas the current blood intervention level is 10 µg/dL. The health effects related to lead exposure are well established and there is evidence that blood lead levels as low as <5 µg/dL are associated with adverse health effects in both children and adults. We analyzed water and toenail samples for lead concentrations from the Atlantic Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health (Atlantic PATH) project, a cohort of the general population in Nova Scotia. Approximately 46% of Nova Scotia residents use well water as their primary source of drinking water. Water from dug wells had higher lead concentrations compared to drilled wells, and the lowest lead levels were found in water from municipal supplies. Although the majority of the lead levels in the drinking water provided by Atlantic PATH participants were below the Canadian maximum acceptable concentration level, there were outliers, particularly among unregulated private well water sources. Given the health effects that are linked to low-level exposures, any exposure to lead in primary water sources remains a concern.



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