AMO Welcomes Practical Steps to Reduce Exposures to Lead

    TORONTO, June 7 /CNW/ - Doug Reycraft, President of the Association of
Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), today welcomed Environment Minister Laurel
Broten's announcement of practical new water testing and treatment measures to
reduce lead leaching in water pipes in older homes throughout Ontario.
    "Municipalities are ready to take necessary steps to protect human health
and to better understand the scope of the problem," said Reycraft. "AMO's
advice to the government was that this is a complex problem that requires a
considered and balanced approach, focused on safeguarding the health of
residents in our communities."
    The actions are intended to reduce the potential levels of lead intake
for pregnant women and children under the age of six. Adults can tolerate
higher exposures than children.
    The program announced today was in direct response to sampling that
showed 47 of 1,000 household water tests taken in a total of 36 municipalities
had elevated lead levels.
    Ontario's Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. George Pasut,
describes the risks as "minimal," and Ontario's Chief Drinking Water
Inspector, Jim Smith, emphasized that "tap water in this province is among the
safest in the world."

    Under the changes:

    -   Municipalities will regularly sample for lead, notify home and
        facility owners of the results from their taps and take corrective
        action in systems with elevated lead levels.
    -   The Province will provide expert advice to municipalities to adjust
        water chemistry in municipal systems to pick up less lead.
    -   The Province will encourage municipalities to conduct public
        education campaigns, such as inserts in water bill mailings.
    -   The Province will provide best practices for municipalities to help
        make lead line replacement more affordable for homeowners, such as
        on-bill financing

    The testing and measures announced reflect advice given to the government
by the Ontario Drinking Water Advisory Council (ODWAC) and the United States
Environmental Protection Agency's requirements to deal with the same issue in
areas across the U.S.
    The use of lead pipes in homes was phased out in 1952 and the use of lead
solder on joints was phased out in 1990.

    AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario's 445
municipal governments. AMO supports and enhances strong and effective
municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government
as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada's political system.

For further information:

For further information: Pat Vanini, AMO Executive Director, (416)
971-9856; Brian Lambie, AMO Media Contact, (416) 729-5425

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