Nearly one-third of schools and daycares in Ontario have exceeded the federal maximum acceptable lead concentration in their drinking water.

According to a joint investigation by Global News, The Toronto Star, Ryerson School of Journalism and Concordia University’s Institute for Investigative Journalism, the highest number of lead overages can be found in public schools, including some in Peel District School Board.

The investigation analyzed the results from tests, most of which were performed in a two year period — from April 2016 to March 2018 —to see how they will stack up against this year’s annual testing.

More than 2,000 public schools in Ontario had at least one period of excessive lead in their tests between 2016 and 2018, with some schools clocking multiple instances of lead overages.

Schools in the Peel District School Board logged the most lead overages at 773 instances over the two-year period, followed by Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board with 550 instances, and Ottawa-Carleton District School Board with 501 instances.

Some of the percentages over the threshold in this investigation were dramatic. Around two dozen schools and daycares across the province reported samples higher than 1,000 ppb – levels experts say can immediately impact lead levels in a child’s blood. 

One such school was White Oaks Secondary in the Halton District School Board, with 24 samples, each over 28 times the federal threshold of 5 parts per billion (ppb). Ontario’s standard is 10 ppb.

The main source of lead in drinking water is antiquated pipes. Lead is not only in the fixtures, including lead taps and water fountains but also in underground water mains that supply the buildings, in the pipes within the building’s walls and lead solder used to join pipes. But to replace the infrastructure would be very costly.

Halton Region School Board says the problem is made even worse by standing water in the mains and unused taps during summer breaks.

In the wake of the report some schools and daycares have implemented bottled water dispensers and installed water filtration systems, including some schools in the York Catholic District School Board, Halton Catholic District School Board, and Central Park YMCA.

Schools in Peel Region that went over the Federally mandated amounts

All Saints School 28.3
Alloa Holding Public School 30.0
Beatty-Fleming Senior Public School 75.0
Brandon Gate Public School 45.2
Briarwood Public School 39.5
Camilla Road Senior Public School 50.0
Canadan Christan Academy 50.0
Cashmere Avenue Public School 33.3
Centennial Senior Public School 50.0
Central Park YMCA Child Daycare 75.0
Central Peel Secondary School 50.0
Christ Out King Nursery School 50.0
Clarkson Public School 42.3
Clarkson Secondary School 50.0
Conestoga Public School 30.4
Corliss Public School 46.4
Corpus Christi School 39.3
Credit View Public School 50.0
Dixie Public School 36.7
Dunrankin Drive Public School 28.1
Earnscliffe Senior Public School 50.0
Elm Drive Public School 47.8
Erin Mills Middle School 62.5
Eureka Kids – Terra Cotta 50.0
Glendale Public School 47.1
Goldcrest Public School 37.5
Greenbriar Senior Public School 50.0
Harold F Loughin Public School 40.9
Harold M. Brathwaite Secondary School 50.0
Heart Lake Secondary School 68.2
Helen Wilson Public School 53.1
Hillsdale Public School 29.2
Hunberview Secondary School 45.0
Iverside Public School 30.0
Jefferson Public School 37.5
Madoc Drive Public School 56.4
Maple Wood Public School 57.7
Marvin heights Public School 30.4
Masset Street Public School 36.8
Mchugh Public School 30.8
Meadowvale Secondary School 50.0
Miller’s Grove Public School 37.5
Mineola Public School 31.8
Mini-Skool Clubhouse 103A 50.0
Morning Star Middle School 75.0
Morton Way Public School 31.2
Otherglen School – Mississauga 50.0
Our Lady of Mercy 33.3
Parkway Public School 27.5
Peekaboo Child Daycare – Avondale 33.3
Plum Tree Park Public School 30.8
Rainbow Village Daycare Centre – Mississauga 50.0
Saint Charles Garnier 38.2
Saint Gerrard School 30.6
Saint John of the Cross 32.3
Saint Patrick School 27.8
Saint Vincent De Paul School 57.7
Saints Peter and Pail School 40.9
Salvation Army Noah’s Arc Daycare 100.0
San Lorenzo Ruiz 30.8
Settler’s Green Public School 37.5
Shelter Bay Public School 36.7
Sir John A Macdonald Senior Public School 50.0
Springfield Public School 30.0
Streetsville Secondary School 62.5
Terry Fox Public School 33.3
Thorn Lodge Public School 29.2
Tomken Road Middle School South 50.0
Turner Fenton Secondary School North 66.7
Upper Canada College – Norval Outdoor School 30.0
W. G. Davis Senior Public School 50.0
Westacres Public School 26.9
Whiteoaks Public School 32.6
Williams Parkway Senior Public School 55.0

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