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March 31, 2016

Health Canada Consulting on Cyanobacterial Toxins in Drinking Water

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The Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water is updating the drinking water guideline for cyanobacterial toxins. As part of this review, a consultation process is taking place.

This consultation is being done to get feedback on:

  • the proposed guideline and the approach used to develop it
  • the potential costs of putting it in place 
  • the availability of additional exposure data (the levels of measured chemicals or other agents  in drinking water)

The proposed Guideline is:
A seasonal maximum acceptable concentration of 0.0015 mg/L (1.5 µg/L) is proposed for total microcystins in drinking water. This guideline is considered to be protective of the general population, including young children. Because of the increased exposure of infants relative to body weight, as a precautionary approach during a cyanobacterial bloom, or when microcystins are detected in finished water, drinking water authorities should consider informing the public in the affected area that an alternate suitable source of drinking water (such as bottled water) should be used to reconstitute infant formula.

The document also provides a great deal of technical advice and information on cyanotoxins.

CWWA's Drinking Water Quality Committee is reviewing the document and will be submitting comments.

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