Province must act on lead contamination


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This article was published 30/12/2020 (881 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Over the past year, I’ve been meeting with constituents and experts to discuss the issue of lead contamination in the Notre Dame area and several other Winnipeg neighbourhoods, including Point Douglas and St. Boniface.

Children who are seven and under are the most sensitive to the side effects of lead exposure as their nervous systems are still developing. These effects are irreversible and can include effects on learning, behaviour and intelligence. For adults, long-term lead exposure can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney problems and reproductive effects.

Although the risk of lead exposure is not very high, the risk is still there. Unfortunately, there is currently no plan in place to deal with lead-in-soil, nor is there a public awareness campaign educating residents on how they can reduce their risks of lead exposure. Instead, people in these areas continue to garden and work in the soil, and children continue to play in the dirt and leaves, often without any knowledge of the risks associated with doing so.

File photo by Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press The field at Weston School was fenced off from the concrete play area lead levels of more than 1,000 mg/g lead levels were found in some parts in September 2018. The government must act on this contamination immediately, Notre Dame MLA Malaya Marcelino writes.

Certain Winnipeg neighbourhoods in Notre Dame are disproportionately affected by lead exposure due to past industrial activity in the area, such as lead smelting and scrap yards.

The provincial government previously commissioned a report from the consulting company Intrinsik on lead-in-soil levels throughout Winnipeg. This report was released in February 2020 and the results found that children in three Winnipeg neighbourhoods — Point Douglas, Weston and Daniel McIntyre — were expected to have blood levels above what is considered safe. 

I’ve spoken about this issue in the legislature, sharing the concerns of constituents and experts alike. I’ve also repeatedly requested a meeting with the minister of conservation and climate, to no avail.

In order to ensure that our communities’ voices are heard, I’ve created a petition to demand the government take action on lead contamination, such as implementing the recommendations proposed in a report commissioned to study lead contamination in Winnipeg. One major recommendation from the report that needs to be acted upon immediately is to make improvements to the grounds of Weston School.

If you would like to sign the petition, or to safely gather signatures, please reach out to me at my office.

If you would like to sign the petition, or for any other questions, comments or concerns, please reach out to me or my office at or over the phone at 204-788-0800.

Malaya Marcelino

Malaya Marcelino
Notre Dame constituency report

Malaya Marcelino is the NDP MLA for Notre Dame.

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