Environmental Public Health Journal 2017 | BCIT Institutional Repository

Environmental Public Health Journal 2017

Assessing the risk of lead exposure to children from drinking water in Metro Vancouver child care facilities
Background: Environmental lead exposure has been a concern since the early 1970’s. With the reduction of airborne lead for inhalation, ingestion from food and water has become the major route of exposure leading to elevated blood lead levels. Previous research and the recent lead contamination of drinking water in Flint, Michigan demonstrate the vulnerability of young children and potential for exposure through drinking water. The purpose of this study was to assess and characterize the risk of lead contamination of drinking water for Metro Vancouver-area early childhood care facilities, and the effect of flushing fixtures as a control measure. Method: 91 drinking water samples were collected from various fixtures at 16 child care facilities at progressive time points to observe the effects of flushing and re-stagnation on total dissolved lead content. Analysis was performed using Varian AAS-240 coupled with GTA-120 graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy. Results were analysed statistically using Excel 2010 and SAS/STAT® 14.2 software with SAS Studio 3.6 interface. Results: The mean (SD, min-max) lead concentrations of the water samples were 0.69 (2.32, 0.1-11.27) μg/L at zero minutes of flushing, 0.21 (0.44, 0.1-2.19) μg/L after one minute of flushing, 0.15 (0.17, 0.1- 0.87) μg/L after five minutes of flushing, 0.18 (0.17, 0.1 -0.64) μg/L after re-stagnation, and 0.31 (1.20, 0.1-11.27) μg/L overall. One outlier sample had a lead concentration of 11.27 μg/L, which exceeded Health Canada’s maximum allowable concentration of 10 μg/L. The decrease in mean lead concentration between zero minutes and one minute of flushing was statistically significant (p=0.0020). Conclusions: The results indicate that lead contamination of drinking water in child care facilities is present but below regulatory action levels under normal circumstances. The flushing of fixtures for at least one minute was shown to be effective in lowering lead concentrations further. Efforts should be taken to identify facilities at higher risk of lead contamination and to educate operators of flushing as an effective control measure., Peer-reviewed article, Published., Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2017., Peer reviewed, Lead, Lead contamination, Drinking water, Children, Daycare, Lead leaching, Child care facility, British Columbia, Metro Vancouver, Burnaby, Fraser Health Authority
Follow-up study of private well users affected by groundwater arsenic in the Surrey-Langley area
Background: Arsenic is a potent toxicant and Group 1 human carcinogen which occurs naturally in certain sediments and can contaminate groundwater. In the Surrey-Langley area of British Columbia, a 2007 study of private wells found that 43% of wells tested contained arsenic concentrations above the maximum acceptable concentration (MAC) prescribed in Health Canada’s Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality. The well owners who participated in the 2007 study were informed of the results and of effective treatment methods that would remove the arsenic contamination. This is a follow-up study that surveyed affected well users approximately 10 years later in order to identify whether the well users had subsequently made any water treatment or behavioral changes to improve the quality of their drinking water, and also to determine whether knowledge translation of the arsenic risk had been effective. Methodology: This study contacted and enrolled private well users who were living at properties which had previously been included in the 2007 study and, in 2007, were found to have arsenic levels above the MAC in the groundwater. Respondents who agreed to participate completed a questionnaire designed to identify what treatment methods or behavioral methods they use to mitigate the risk posed by arsenic contamination. Pre-treatment and post-treatment samples of their drinking water were collected and the arsenic concentrations were analyzed. The effectiveness of treatment devices for arsenic removal was evaluated. The groundwater arsenic concentrations from approximately 10 years apart were compared to identify if arsenic levels had changed. Results: Of the 42 properties that participated in the 2007 study and had groundwater arsenic levels above the MAC, 17 participated in this follow-up study. 14 of the participants also took part in the 2007 study 10 years ago. 79% of participants had not known prior to taking part in the 2007 study that their drinking water contained arsenic levels above the MAC. All 79% then either installed reverse osmosis treatment devices to remove arsenic from their drinking water, or switched to using bottled water for drinking. This indicates that knowledge translation of the health risk was effective. Of the 8 properties using treatment devices rather than bottled water, to mitigate the arsenic risk, 2/8 (25%) were ineffective at reducing arsenic. In addition, arsenic groundwater concentrations were not found to have changed significantly in 10 years (p = 0.11). Conclusion: Participation in the 2007 study was viewed as useful and informative by participants. Knowledge translation of the health risk and the need for risk mitigation was effective, but 25% of treatment devices were found to be ineffective at removing arsenic from drinking water. These results suggests that further knowledge translation of the need for routine testing for arsenic in post-treated drinking water may be beneficial to affected private well users., Peer-reviewed article, Published., Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2017., Peer reviewed, Arsenic, Groundwater, Knowledge translation, Private well users, Surrey, Langley