From an article by Randy Christensen and Elaine MacDonald, Nov/Dec 2015, On the Level, Water Canada. Canadian water guidelines are weaker than those in other jurisdictions. Although having an apparent abundance of fresh water, Canada has considerable quality and quantity concerns. These concerns suggest too little is being done to protect the health and well being of Canadians. Our federal and provincial governments determine the level of allowable contamination in drinking water, known as the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality
The authors did a study (Waterproof Standards 2014), in which they found Canadian guidelines are weaker than those in the USA,the EU,and Australia…and are at risk of becoming weaker. There is also evidence that Canada has no standards for some substances, where others do. Of great concern is the Federal Provincial Territorial Committee on Drinking Water (CWD) has proposed doubling the allowable level for chromium. Cr-III is an essential nutrient…but Cr-VI is a known human carcinogen and is considered extremely toxic. Cr-VI is the contamination activist Erin Brockovitch exposed, as portrayed by Julie Roberts in the movie. The CWD’s proposal will put us out of step with our international peers and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Herbicide 2-4-D has also been detected frequently in surface water across Canada, and is associated with damage to the nervous system, liver and kidneys…and is considered a possible human carcinogen. Other countries have a standard 1.5 to 3 times stronger than the Canadian standard. Canada has no limit for Styrene, another possible human carcinogen, while the USA, Australia, and the WHO have set limits.
Precedent for better protection of Canada’s drinking water exists. We can do better , but our governments must must find the will to defend public health and protect Canada’s drinking water.