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Answers wanted

Dear sir:

On April 5, the headline on the front page of the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal read “Lead Found in Drinking Water.”

This was a news article about a Grade 7 student, Joe Frenette, who discovered—while working on his project for the science fair—that there was 0.03 mg of lead in his school’s drinking water. The allowable amount of lead is 0.01 mg per litre.

As a result, Joe was interviewed by the Chronicle Journal and the story was printed in their Friday edition. This led to several interviews by the media, including CBC Radio and Cross-Country Canada. All felt that this was serious enough to merit national coverage.

They both aired on Monday, April 8.

I brought the article to the attention of your reporter on Friday, April 5, and mentioned that Joe was well-known in this area since both his parents come from here. I also had a question for her—if neither of the Thunder Bay school boards routinely tested the drinking water in their schools, obviously it must not be compulsory.

Do our local school boards test the water in our schools for such things as lead? Could she enquire?

Apparently, this was not considered to be of enough interest to include in any of your papers this past week. Obviously not nearly as significant as the heart-wrenching story of the poor gay student from eastern Ontario who was devastated because his school board refused him permission to attend the prom with his boyfriend.

That very important bit of news took up a considerable amount of space on Page 2 of Monday’s Daily Bulletin.

But then, who cares that our children may be drinking polluted water at school because it appears that it isn’t compulsory to test for such things as lead.

We all know that lead affects the nervous system, red blood cells, and the metabolism of vitamin D and calcium. Does it matter that it also affects the physical and mental development of young children?

The Thunder Bay school boards obviously do care. They immediately sent samples of the drinking water from their schools to be tested and are now awaiting the results.

If your reporter had bothered to follow up on this story, she could have questioned our school boards about their policy regarding testing. If they do test regularly, then that message could have been passed on to the people of Fort Frances.

If they don’t test the school drinking water, then they just might have been prompted to do so.

The health of our children must be our first priority. I’ve received several phone calls from people who read the article in the Chronicle, some heard the interview on the radio, or who saw Joe on the TV news program.

All are asking the same question—is our school drinking water safe? How can we find out? We would all like an answer.


E. Frenette

1320 Emo Rd.

Fort Frances, Ont.

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