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Soil Testing Results

April 29, 2022
Soil Testing

Under the direction of Manitoba Government, Climate and Parks, Parson’s Inc. conducted a large-scale lead sampling and assessment program on Winnipeg School Division grounds. 

The report recommended that further action be taken for a number of individual sites (parks or schools) sampled in 2021, which had lead concentrations greater than the referenced guidelines. You can find the report at the link below. 

This soil assessment is part of an overall strategy to understand and limit Manitoban’s exposure to lead, including lead in soil, drinking water, as well as in other sources (e.g. consumer products, ammunition). Schools affected have been notified of the elevated level of lead in the soil on the school property, and advised to mitigate these areas by ensuring coverage of the soil by sod or other materials. Sod or other material acts to limit access to the soil.

The risk to human health from exposure to lead in soil is low. Lead enters the body if soil is breathed in as dust, or is swallowed when hands are not washed before eating. Children can avoid exposure to lead in soil by washing their hands after playing outside, in particular before snacks and meals. The most important action is to limit contact with the soil by covering exposed areas with grass. When soil is covered with grass, concrete, asphalt or other materials, the exposure is significantly less. In winter, when the ground is frozen or covered in snow, there is little to no exposure. Children are more sensitive to lead exposure than adults. Even low levels of exposure can have negative effects on behaviour and intellectual development. The higher and longer the lead exposure, the greater the effect.

Every day, strides are made to make the environment healthier. Lead smelters no longer run, leaded gas is no longer used in vehicles, burning coal for power ended in 2018, and homes are no longer built and decorated with lead products. Going forward in 2022, Manitoba Health will be monitoring and investigating as necessary any elevated blood lead levels obtained through sampling by primary care providers.

If you are concerned about your child’s exposure to lead, please speak with your healthcare provider directly or contact Health Links–Info Santé: 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free).

The Report:

Frequently Asked Questions about the report:

More information about lead in soil and other sources of lead:

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