The Toronto Star has reported that tap water in 13 per cent of Toronto homes tested over the last six years contain an unsafe amount of lead, according to city data obtained by the newspaper. The data draws from 15,000 samples between 2008 and 2014.
The high lead levels are not coming from the municipal distribution system, but are rather the result of lead pipes being used in homes built before 1950. As such, the majority of properties suffering from high lead levels are in aging residential neighbourhoods such as High Park, Lawrence Avenue and Yonge Street, the south Annex, and parts of East York.
“We’ve sat on our hands since 2008, when we knew the health impacts of lead in water,” Councillor Janet Davis told the Star. “That’s unacceptable. I think the city has to be more accountable and take greater responsibility for replacement of all the pipes that contain lead. It’s a public health issue and we need to ensure accountability on council for providing that.”
Davis’ Beaches-East York ward had a failure rate of 16 per cent.
There are approximately 40,000 homes in Toronto that still use lead pipes.