2017 Trail BC Children’s Lead Levels are the Lowest to Date

Results from the Trail Area Health & Environment Committee (THEC) 2017 children’s blood lead testing clinic show that the average blood lead level for children aged six to 36 months in Trail and Rivervale is 4.0 micrograms per decilitre with 92.5% of children testing below 10 micrograms per decilitre.

This is the lowest result to date for the community-wide average. There continues to be a very high participation rate for this voluntary program.

The THEC is continuing its efforts to further reduce children’s blood lead levels to achieve an average of 3.5 micrograms per decilitre or lower by 2020 for children aged six to 36 months in Trail and Rivervale.

In 2017, the annual average lead in community air was 0.16 micrograms per cubic metre. This achieves and exceeds our 2018 Air Quality goal of 0.2 micrograms per cubic metre, which was set by the committee through its public consultation in 2010, and was the most stringent in Canada at the time.  

“Our 2017 results are a milestone for our community,” says Mayor Mike Martin, Chair of the Trail Area Health & Environment Committee.  “With the support of the community and through a comprehensive program, we’re heading in the right direction toward meeting our 2020 goal for children’s lead levels.  This is the first year that Teck’s new Smelter Recycle Building was in full operation and we were expecting a positive impact. Teck Trail Operations’ continued investments in reducing fugitive dust emissions are viewed as the greatest opportunity to further reduce children’s lead levels. This, in combination with our other programs such as soil testing and remediation, Healthy Families Healthy Homes, and lead safe renovation support, has us on course to achieve lower blood lead goals in future.”

Dan Bouillon, Manager, Environment at Teck Trail Operations says: “Teck is focussed on improving community air quality. Our 2017 results show a significant reduction in our air emissions, and the lowest level ever for lead in community air. Our fugitive dust reduction program, including the investment in the Smelter Recycle Building, which was fully operational last year, is having a positive impact and moving forward we are continuing to invest in opportunities to further reduce emissions.”

About the Trail Area Health & Environment Program
The Trail Area Health & Environment Program is a community-led program with five main areas of activity: Family Health, Home & Garden, Air Quality, Parks and Wildlands, and Property Development. THEC promotes a healthy environment through a comprehensive integrated program that successfully improves air quality and children’s blood lead levels, and promotes the health of the community.  The Air Quality Program reduces smelter emissions and makes the largest contribution to achieving health and environment goals. All our activities work together to get the best results – lower exposure, lower health risks, and a healthier environment.

The Trail Area Health & Environment Committee (THEC) oversees the program. THEC is a partnership between the local community, Teck, the Ministry of Environment, and Interior Health. Over the past two decades of successful collaboration, children’s blood lead levels in Trail have reduced significantly and air quality has greatly improved. THEC’s community-led partnership has been recognized internationally as an effective collaborative model for safeguarding health and the environment.  In 2011 the program received a Premier’s Innovation and Excellence Award for Partnership.  For more information please visit www.thep.ca