On the front line against lead in schools

On the front line against lead in schools

Our experts in Building Sciences and Industrial Hygiene are currently involved in a Ministry of Education offensive against lead in school drinking water. The Commission scolaire Marie-Victorin has mandated FNX-INNOV to conduct water sampling and analysis at 82 schools in the Montérégie region by March 31, 2020. The firm can be proud to have obtained this mandate, which is most often carried out by laboratories, an interesting prospect for our integrated services offering.

Lead in drinking water has been back in the news since a group of investigative journalists revealed worrisome data on its prevalence in Canadian municipal water. This research led to a series of interventions by public administrations, including the Ministère de l’Éducation du Québec, which ordered school boards to test their drinking water before the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

It is in this context that the Commission scolaire Marie-Victorin, on the South Shore of Montreal, mandated FNX-INNOV to conduct samples and analyses in 82 of its schools by March 2020. This mandate is particularly important since it is a first in Quebec, in terms of a provincial public health strategy, and the Ministry is studying the possibility of providing its school boards with tools (kits) to carry out internal sampling and analysis. The Ordre des chimistes du Québec has warned the Ministry against these “in-house” analyses, which would provide erroneous protocols and could compromise the results.

Our Building Sciences and Industrial Hygiene experts are currently working to measure the lead concentration in the drinking water of institutions, where it can be collected for consumption, which will allow the School Board to have an overall picture and implement measures to comply with the lead concentration limits established by Health Canada (5ug/L). A specific sampling protocol is used to analyze water quality at all school water points to obtain the most accurate picture possible of the entire system.

The teams will travel throughout the School Board’s territory in the coming weeks, which will allow the collection of 13,000 samples that will be analyzed quickly to meet the Ministry’s schedule. Our expert chemists will then be responsible for writing a report on the prevalence of lead in schools that will allow the School Board to take the necessary corrective measures to ensure the safety of children.

Congratulations to our experts in Building Sciences and Industrial Hygiene for this great mandate, we are helping to make our infrastructure safer for the well-being of our children.