The Nunavut Housing Corporation is determining which public housing units have water tanks with lead floats due to potential health risks.

Any lead levels in the blood system do deteriorate once the source of the metal has been removed, Health Minister George Hickes says.
photo courtesy of the Government of Nunavut

Health Minister George Hickes said anyone with confirmation of lead in their water tank should contact their local health centre to arrange a blood test.

“From early indications, we are not aware of any specific examples where it has had a health impact, but we do want to make sure that people do get tested at the health centre, and then if any treatment is necessary then it can be followed up with,” Hickes said in the legislative assembly on Thursday.

Netsilik MLA Emiliano Qirngnuq, who knows of lead floats in water tanks in Taloyoak, encouraged Housing Minister Patterk Netser to publish information for private homeowners so they’re also aware of how to identify the issue and how to address it.

Speaking of the health effects, Qirngnuq said, “It really makes you wonder. How worrisome is it to a person?”

Hickes replied, “Lead levels in the blood are obviously a concern when they’re elevated and any portion can have impacts, but I think the first step — and I’ll commend the Nunavut Housing Corporation on this — is to remove those floats. Any lead levels in the blood system do deteriorate once that source has been removed. That’s the first step of getting the lead out of the water system or the resupply.”

Floats help prevent tanks from overflowing when refilled.

 

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Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...