For the first time, Health Canada has set a guideline based on the health effects of manganese. The acceptable level is 0.120 milligrams per litre.

Nova Scotians with private wells are encouraged to test their drinking water against new national guidelines for the acceptable level of manganese.

“Current evidence indicates that consumption of manganese in drinking water above the guideline over a prolonged period of time can adversely affect brain development in children, and memory, attention, and movement in adults,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “The best way to protect yourself and your family from exposure to bacteria and chemicals is to test your well water regularly and treat it when needed.”

More than 40 per cent of Nova Scotia households get their drinking water from private wells. Well water should be tested twice a year for bacteria and every two years for chemical contaminants. People drawing water from lakes and rivers should always filter and disinfect it, and test twice a year for bacteria and once a year for chemical contaminants.

If manganese exceeds the acceptable level in drinking water, it should be treated before consumption. Different treatment systems are available.

Municipal and registered public drinking water supplies are required by law to follow the national guidelines. More information is available here.


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