Amid concerns about the presence of lead in drinking water at some B.C. schools, Langley officials say results of annual local testing are normal.

Drinking water in Langley schools given the all clear

Tests have shown no indication of higher-than-allowable lead levels, despite problems in other B.C. school districts

Drinking water in Langley schools has been tested and given the OK, say Langley School District officials.

This comes after six elementary schools in Surrey were found to have up to eight times the allowable level of lead in their drinking water, according to the Health Canada standards.

“All Langley School District facilities have undergone annual water testing and have been found compliant with all Fraser Health requirements regarding water quality and safety, including full metals assessment,” said Ken Hoff, spokesman for the school district.

Due to high levels of lead found in numerous schools throughout the province earlier this year, B.C. Education Minister Mike Bernier mandated that testing be done at all schools to determine the extent of the problem.

At the last Langley Board of Education meeting, trustee David Tod asked how water in Langley schools is measuring up.

Secretary-treasurer David Green responded that lead levels have been tested and there are no readings above normal.

The reading levels can be viewed on the district’s website. Schools that are on well water, such as Wix Brown, include readings for e.coli and coliform. All levels were at zero and in compliance with Fraser Health.

The highest lead levels recorded in Surrey were 85 parts per billion, in water collected from a drinking fountain in the basement at Crescent Park Elementary. That is more than eight times the allowable 10 parts per billion.

According to Dr. Shovita Padhi, Medical Health Officer at Fraser Health, exposure to high levels of lead can cause serious health issues in both children and adults.

Over a short period of time, it can cause mood changes, memory loss and general weakness, she said. Prolonged exposure at  lower levels can have serious health consequences, especially in children.

“Children are the most vulnerable, especially fetuses, as lead can transfer through the placental barrier,” Padhi said. “That’s where you can see severe health outcomes… and that’s why we are especially cautious around children.”

Lead-based solder was not used in plumbing after 1990, so any school built since then shouldn’t have this issue.

With files from Evan Seal/Surrey Leader

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