To date, there is little information about lead exposure and lead-related illness for residents of British Columbia.
In order to describe who is exposed to lead, how, and the level of their exposure, Environmental Health Services at the BC Centre for Disease Control obtained results of blood lead analyses conducted by BC laboratories during 2009 and 2010. Hospitalization summaries, calls to the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre (DPIC), and physician visits coded for lead were also obtained in order to characterise lead-related illness.
Results indicate that while lead exposure is of health concern for some BC residents, manifest lead toxicity is rare.
Current available data does not allow us to pinpoint which groups are at highest risk of exposure to lead, where they live, or how they are exposed.
A report entitled Indicators of Exposure to and Health Effects of Lead in British Columbia, 2009-2010 was prepared to summarize the findings from the available data.
Everyone is exposed to trace amounts of lead through air, soil, household dust, food, drinking water and various consumer products. Even small amounts of lead can be hazardous to human health. However, since the early 1970s, lead exposure in Canada has decreased substantially mainly because leaded gasoline and lead-based paint were gradually phased-out and the use of lead solder is no longer used in food cans. The use of lead in gasoline has virtually disappeared. Today, 99.8 percent of gasoline used in Canada is lead-free.
A new report entitled Managing Risks to Children's Health from Lead in Drinking Water in British Columbia's Daycares and Schools was published in February 2017.