Water and Human Health

The health of Canadians is significantly affected by their accessibility to clean, safe water.

  • It is estimated that unsafe drinking water in Canada causes 90,000 illnesses and 90 deaths every year (Environment Canada, Waterborne Pathogens)
  • At any point in time, there are hundreds of boil water advisories in effect across Canada. In April 2008, there were 1,766 boil water advisories in communities and neighbourhoods across the country (Canadian Medical Association, Investigative Report).
  • As many as 75% of the water systems on Aboriginal reserve communities have significant threats to the quality and safety of drinking water (Commissioner of Environment and Sustainable Development, Drinking Water in First Nations Communities: Report to the House of Commons).
  • Chemical pollution in water ecosystems is known to affect reproductive systems of fish and wildlife – and possibly human health. The Aamjiwnaang First Nation community has seen a significant decline in the rate of male births – the most likely cause being exposure to chemicals from nearby petrochemical plants (Environmental Health Perspectives Journal, Declining Sex Ratio in a First Nation Community).

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