We asked Rakel Kling, a Medical Health Officer with Northern Health, that question in the wake of new Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines that says Quesnel is exceeding it.
She says they are most concerned about infants…
“Manganese, depending on the level, can be harmful to everyone but we’re most concerned about infants. There has been more recent research that shows that infants can actually be more effected than adults because they just consume more water to body weight compared to adults, and also because of their rapidly growing brain. Research is showing now that infants who consume high levels of Manganese can lead to behavior problems, poor memory or reduced motor function.”
Kling says this research is new and is still developing however, and she says they are just being extremely cautious.
She says manganese is a natural element that is an essential nutrient and that the levels in Quesnel, .22 micrograms per litre on average, are fine for the general population to drink.
Kling does suggest that parents with bottle fed infants use alternate sources of water…
“We would advise at this level that any infants that are being bottle fed, to not use the water source with high manganese, and to consider other sources of water such as bottled water to feed any bottle fed infant.”
Kling says Northern Health is working with the City to address the high levels of Manganese in the water and to create a plan.