Why Canadians get sick from tap water


On any given day there are an estimated 1500 boil water advisories in effect across this country. Author Chris Wood argues our water safety is going right down the drain from what's in the pipes to what's in the water source.

"I don't remember when the boil order went on but it has been a number of years, anywhere from 25 years onwards. I've never drank the water since the boil order went down from the tap as a glass of water".

Rose Coombs

Rose Coombs lives in Portugal Cove South, Newfoundland and Labrador. Her guess that it's been about 25 years since she last had a glass of tap water isn't too far off. Her town's been under a boil water advisory since 1984.

There are more than 1500 boil water advisories in effect in Canada today... some for hours, some for days, and some for decades. But even worse than having to boil drinking water is not being warned to boil it.

Brian Zinchuk became ill during an outbreak a decade ago in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. A parasite in the water left 7,000 people sick.

Co-Author of Down the Drain, Chris Wood

According to our guest, a lot of illness is caused by unsafe drinking water in Canada. Chris Wood is the co-author of Down the Drain: How we are failing to protect our water. We reached him in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Overlooked Epidemic Flows from Canada's Taps -- The Tyee

Canadian Water and Wastewater Association, Robert Haller

Responsibility for drinking water in Canada flows through many levels. Water utilities are the responsibility of municipalities and regions, regulated by the provinces and territories, with guidelines set federally.

Robert Haller is the executive director of the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association. His members look after water across the country, except on federal lands such as First Nations and national parks. He joined us from Denver, Colorado.


This segment was produced by The Current's Karin Marley and Zoe Tennant.

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Last Word - Daniel Ellsberg

Leaks have been all over the news lately, Wikileaks, leaks from the PMO and of course the Edward Snowden leaks.

It's unlikely any will have the lasting impact of the leaks of Daniel Ellsberg. He was a US military analyst who came across documents in the late 1960's that suggested many American soldiers were likely to die in Vietnam in a war that couldn't be won.

He eventually gave the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times and the U-S government shuddered. Mr. Ellsberg says he's waited decades for someone such as Edward Snowden to expose the depth of domestic US spying. Daniel Ellsberg gets today's Last Word, backed up by the Florida Boys.


Other segment from today's show:

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