The Sierra Club of Canada has released a new report on tritium in Canadian drinking water. The report is entitled “Tritium on Tap”. It documents the massive quantities of radioactive tritium released into drinking water sources by the nuclear industry in Canada on a routine basis.
A copy of the report is available for downloading in the documents section of this website and at the Sierra Club of Canada site.
The Ontario Drinking Water Advisory Council has recommended that the Ontario drinking water standard for tritium be reduced from 7,000 Bq/l to 20 Bq/l.
The report and recommendations are available here.
TAP commends the ODWAC for its thorough review and sound recommendations which will help to reduce the tritium hazard to Ontario residents.
March 29, 2009
Chair, Ontario Drinking Water Advisory Council
40 St. Clair Avenue West, 3rd Floor
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Dear Mr. Merritt,
The Tritium Awareness Project (TAP) is a voluntary collaborative initiative aimed at bringing attention to the hazards of tritium exposure in Canada. TAP is a new organization, formed in January 2009, and is supported by a growing number of individuals and NGO’s. The TAP advisory board members bring years of experience and professional expertise to this educational effort. We invite you to visit the TAP website at www.tapcanada.org for more information about this initiative.
TAP supports the important work to date by the ODWAC to review the Ontario drinking water standard for tritium. This review has the potential to make a major contribution to reducing the tritium hazard in Ontario. Read more…
International Health Institute Calls for Immediate Attention
In support of the Tritium Awareness Project and MPs who are calling for action, the International Institute of Concern for Public Health (IICPH) calls on authorities to heed warnings about public health risks from spills of tritium into air and water from Chalk River nuclear reactors. Tritium and other radioactive contaminants are being released into the Ottawa River, affecting the drinking water for millions of people in the communities that draw water from the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers. Unless immediate and serious action is taken, chronic exposure to the tritium-tainted water will cause widespread and unnecessary damage to people’s health and the natural environment. Read more…
On March 6, 2009, Ottawa Centre Member of Parliament, Paul Dewar tabled a motion in the House of Commons that seeks to end tritium dumping into the Ottawa River and reduce the Canadian drinking water limit for tritium.
Here is the press release from Dewar’s office:
OTTAWA – NDP MP [New Democratic Party Member of Parliament] Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre) is calling for a reduction in the amount of tritium — a cancer-causing radioactive form of hydrogen — in drinking water.
Dewar’s effort comes as Tritium Awareness Project announced that 28 trillion becquerels of radioactive tritium has been released at the Chalk River nuclear facility into the Ottawa River, the source of drinking water in Ottawa.
“I am extremely concerned about the high levels of tritium in the water we drink” said Dewar. “There is a host of health risks posed by exposure to high levels of tritium in water”. Studies in lab animals have shown that high levels of tritium exposure can cause a number of health problems from miscarriages and birth defects to permanent genetic damage and cancer.
Gordon Edwards has written to CNSC President Michael Binder to point out CNSC failure to provide accurate, scientific information to the public about tritium. The letter challenges Mr. Binder to remove inaccurate statements from the CNSC website and urges an end to CNSC-sanctioned tritium dumping in the Ottawa River.
Here is an excerpt from the TAP letter:
“On behalf of the Tritium Awareness Project, I urge the CNSC to discontinue the practice of allowing AECL to dilute and release tritium-contaminated water into the Ottawa River. This practice is unjustified, as it does no good and only harms the population that drinks the water.
Regulatory limits must not be regarded as a license to pollute.”
For the complete letter, continue reading: Read more…
This letter was submitted to the Ottawa Citizen today by Dr. Gordon Edwards, President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.
Putting radioactive materials in people’s drinking water is not wise, no matter what current regulations say.
Medical doctors do not recommend that people “smoke in moderation”. They tell them to stop smoking altogether.
Restaurants are not asked to oversee a permissible level of second-hand smoke. They are ordered by law to disallow it altogether.
The reason is that cigarette smoke is cancer causing. There is no scientifically accepted safe level of exposure to any known carcinogen. That goes for radioactive materials as well as for non-radioactive ones.
For the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to say that deliberately dumping eighteen trillion becquerels of tritium into the Ottawa River is “of no concern” and “perfectly safe” is not only scientifically wrong, but it is contrary to that organization’s legal mandate to protect the public health and to disseminate objective scientific information.
It is deeply distressing to see how the polluter (AECL) and the regulator (CNSC) join forces to obscure the facts and to provide unscientific reassurances of safety to the public and to their elected representatives.
Gordon Edwards, Ph.D., President,
Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility
Our TAP press conference on Parliament Hill Wednesday has raised concern about Ottawa’s drinking water among some members of the media and general public. People are surprised to learn that drinking water in Ottawa is radioactive. Perhaps this is because previous media reports included assurances from authorities like this one:
“Radioactive water never reached river: Feds” (Ottawa Sun, January 30, 2009_
Peter Zimonjic The federal government says no radioactive material from a recent leak at
the Chalk River nuclear research facility made its way into the Ottawa River…
No wonder people are upset to learn that in fact millions of bequerels of radioactive tritium entered the Ottawa River in December and subsequent spills in January and February.
Data released yesterday by the City of Ottawa show that the Ottawa River is chronically contaminated with tritium at the level of 6 bq / litre. This level is more than three times the background level. In essence this means that in every litre of tap water in Ottawa, there are six radioactive decay events going off every second, second after second. This is equal to more than or 20,000 every hour, and more than half a million per day in this one litre of tap water.
When you drink water with tritium in it, much of the tritium passes through the body. However, small quantities get absorbed into organic molecules in the body including DNA. Inside organic molecules and especially in DNA, tritium can do significant damage. TAP’s position is that it’s good to keep tritium out of drinking water for this reason.
Letter to Lisa Raitt, Minister of Natural Resources Canada- expressing disappointment about the fact that she did not recieve accurate information about tritium leaks and health impacts.