Water Test Kits Canada

Tap Score Canada is by far the most user-friendly and informative home water quality test kit available!

Chemicals and other contaminates migrate into water from old pipes, industry, agriculture, and other possible sources.  Many contaminates found in water have no taste, color, or smell.  

Tap Score is the only home water testing service with unbiased treatment matching and health risk analysis…
 so you don’t waste money on treatment that doesn’t do what you need. 

Get comprehensive water testing throughout Canada for groundwater, surface water, private wells, and public water system analysis, nationwide with water test kits from Tap Score Canada.

All Tap Score Water Test Kits Include: Free shipping both ways with Canada Post to a certified water testing analytical laboratory, comprehensive reporting, dedicated clients support, and 100% satisfaction guarantee!

Water Testing Canada FAQ

Frequently asked questions & answers about water testing in Canada
Ageing Infrastructure & Lead Pipes

Canadians do not have universal access to reliable, potable water. One of the primary concerns is ageing infrastructure and lead pipes negatively affecting our health. In 2017, the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities (TRAN) of the House of Commons reported “that it would not be unreasonable to assume that around 500,000 Canadian homes still have lead service lines,” and that “while some municipalities have taken steps to replace lead service pipes … water pipes and water fountains remain “an important source” of lead for many Canadians.” 1

The report went on to state that “witnesses unanimously considered lead in drinking water to be a public health issue, and several provided compelling testimony as to the many and diverse effects of lead exposure on human health … [with] no safe level of lead in children’s blood.” The risks include:

• Damage to the brain’s prefrontal cortex that helps us determine good and bad, understand the consequences
of our actions, make wise decisions, and moderate our
social behaviour.

• Developmental problems such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and antisocial behaviours, including delinquency and criminal conduct in young people.

• Health problems such as chronic kidney disease, hypertension, and essential tremors—a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary shaking—affecting 3% of Canada’s population 2 and as many as 20% of those over the age of 65. 3

Resolving the issue of ageing infrastructure—including lead pipes, old wells, plumbing parts, and even faucets, fittings, soldering, and valves—isn’t as easy as it seems. While the federal government has responsibility for health and infrastructure, each province is responsible for managing water treatment and distribution, and each municipal water authority for their specific urban area. In November 2019, an investigative report found “that roughly one-third of water samples tested across Canada exceed the acceptable levels set by Health Canada.” 4 Quebec’s lead limit of 10 parts per billion (ppb) was twice that recommended by the federal government, exposing over 300,000 people to lead in their drinking water in Montreal alone. 5

Moreover, while water utilities look after the pipes running from the water main to the property line, homeowners are responsible for the “last mile.” However, in the short term, replacing only the municipally-owned section aggravates the problem by releasing debris and lead particles when cut.

Note: If you want to learn more about lead poisoning in municipal water supplies, read about the ongoing (2014 – present) water crisis in Flint, Michigan, where over 100,000 residents were exposed to elevated lead level, and 12 people died following an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, 6 or the Reuters article, “The thousands of U.S. locales where lead poisoning is worse than in Flint.” 7

Even though toxic effluents are heavily regulated in Canada, municipal waste, industrial effluent, and fertilizer runoff from agriculture are regularly released into lakes and rivers. While nitrogen and phosphorus are important in freshwater, high concentrations of nutrients stimulated by high water temperatures linked to climate change result in eutrophication, causing toxic blue-green algae to bloom, disrupting the normal ecosystem, and making the water unusable. A severe problem across Quebec and the Prairies due to intensive agriculture, in southern Ontario, eutrophication has seriously compromised the water quality of the Great Lakes and other inland waters.

On July 31, 2014, a harmful algae bloom (HAB) developed in the western basin of Lake Erie, overwhelming the Toledo Water Intake Crib—which collects water from close to the bottom of a lake to supply the onshore pump station—and contaminating the drinking water of Toledo’s 500,000 inhabitants. 8 Tests showed the algae was releasing microcystin, a potent liver toxin and possible human carcinogen. The city issued a “Do Not Drink/Do Not Boil” order, triggering a three-day crisis. Local stores ran out of bottled water, Ohio’s governor declared a state of emergency, and the National Guard was called in to provide safe drinking water. Despite launching a US$500 million, 10-year upgrade of the water treatment plant in 2016, the problem still exists. Global warming continues to trigger periodic blooms. 9

And the Great Lakes aren’t the only source of water quality problems. British Columbia may have fewer eutrophication problems than other provinces, 90% of the province’s municipal wastewater is discharged into the heavily populated lower Fraser River or its tributaries. 10 In northern Ontario, the Grassy Narrows First Nation relies on a river system contaminated with mercury for almost 50 years. After decades of living under dozens of long-term drinking water advisories, the final one was finally lifted in October 2020 following a $5 million upgrade of the water treatment system, providing safe drinking water for the community. 11

And we could go on …

Despite water quality in Canada being under the federal government’s oversight, it leaves much to be desired. Fragmented approaches to water management, challenges working across jurisdictions, a lack of Indigenous consultation and involvement, and the absence of strict regulations mandating monitoring and surveillance all add to the potential health risks.

For example, in February 2020, Health Canada—in collaboration with the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water—submitted a proposal to withdraw from the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality (GCDWQ) 18 chemical substances, including 14 pesticides. Why? Because it was determined that “these contaminants are unlikely to be found in Canadian drinking water at levels that may pose a risk to human health.” 12 What were the chemicals that would no longer be monitored? The pesticides proposed for withdrawal are azinphos-methyl, carbaryl, carbofuran, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, diclofop-methyl, diuron, metolachlor, paraquat, phorate, picloram, simazine, terbufos, and trifluralin. Other chemicals in the proposal include 1,2-dichlorobenzene, 2,4-dichlorophenol, 2,3,4,6-tetrachlorophenol and monochlorobenzene.

Just reading the list of chemicals sounds terrifying. But think: To be monitored, those chemicals must have been in our water at one time. Who’s to say that they, or something far more toxic, won’t reappear in the future—unmonitored and unregulated.

Moreover, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Environment and Climate Change Canada stopped monitoring water quality, citing health and safety concerns in the workplace. Interestingly, water quantity monitoring under the jurisdiction of Water Survey of Canada was not suspended, having been declared an essential service. Despite water experts warning that data collection and monitoring of water quality need to be resilient even in times of crisis, this disconnect directly threatens many downstream communities. 13 This is especially true of the Northwest Territories, where “non-critical” early warning systems monitoring the impact of Alberta’s oil sands expansion on water quality were suspended due to the pandemic. 

New Contaminants

Moreover, dozens of new and potentially dangerous chemicals trickle unnoticed into our water supply every year, including pharmaceuticals, illegal drugs, engineered materials, waste products, chemicals from spills, and crumbling infrastructure. It can take decades for a new contaminant to be added to the Toxic Substances List regulated by the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) or monitored under the Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance Program. Look at the facts:

• Arsenic: It took 110 years (1888 – 2001) for the US government to regulate arsenic in drinking water to 10 parts per billion (ppb).
• Lead: Only after 90 years (1887 – 1978) children were first diagnosed with lead poisoning did the US government ban lead paint.
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs): It took 46 years (1933 –1979) from the time they became aware of the problem to when the US government banned the manufacture of PCBs.
• 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP): Twenty-five years (1992 – 2017) after TCP was linked to cancer—and 60 years after it was first manufactured—did one US state, California, take steps to regulate TCPs.

While there are 94 chemicals identified by name 14 and regulated, dozens have yet to go through the process. And until hazardous chemicals are added to the list, public water utilities are not required to include them in their quality testing.
So, what do you do?

TEST YOUR WATER!

If you live in an urban area, your drinking water may be contaminated with municipal waste, industrial effluent, and agriculture overflow, with the potential health risks previously described. If your town or home predates 1986, your water most likely travels through lead pipes, which can lead to lead poisoning. Ageing municipal pipes may also develop leaks, introducing other types of contamination (like petrochemicals from gas station tanks).

Whether you’re worried or just curious, the wisest course for you and your family’s health is to test your water.

 

Water Testing – Municipal Water Source

Yes!  Municipal water is generally safe, but there’s no harm in testing it. Before reaching your home—where old plumbing and fixtures can affect quality—water from a utility may travel through old pipes for as much as three to seven days, collecting a range of bacteria and chemicals.

The May 2000, the Escherichia coli (E. coli) outbreak in Walkerton, just 180 kilometres northwest of Toronto, resulted in over 2,300 cases of gastroenteritis, “the worst public health disaster involving municipal water in Canadian history.” 15 The cause? Following heavy spring rainfall, bacteria from cattle manure used for fertilizing crops found their way into the shallow aquifer of a nearby well. Water drawn from the well entered the municipal water supply without receiving proper treatment, resulting in 7 deaths and one suicide 18 years later. 16 A 7-year study following the tragedy identified a 30% higher risk of high blood pressure or kidney damage in those who fell ill, with 22 children experiencing permanent kidney damage. 17

Despite sweeping changes in the laws and practices governing municipal drinking water—and in light of the impact of climate change on our water supply—it’s best to be safe than sorry.

Water Testing Private or Shared Well

According to Canada’s government, disease-causing organisms leach into groundwater through surface runoff of fertilizers, manure, pesticides, and nitrogen, finding their way into shallow wells through coarse-textured soils. Forestry, manufacturing, mining, waste disposal, and runoff from urban areas also contribute to declining water quality. As a result, “the risks associated with ingestion can be very high for rural families who rely on untreated drinking water sources.” 18

One of the potential consequences of nitrogen entering the water supply via nutrient-rich wells is nitrite toxicity, which, in sufficient quantities, can cause illness or even death. Blue baby syndrome, or methemoglobinemia, is caused by a lack of oxygen and is the most recognized form of nitrate poisoning. Occurring most often in infants less than 6 months old with underdeveloped gastrointestinal tracts, ingesting milk formula made with nitrate-rich water—or homemade baby food made with nitrate-rich foods, like spinach or beets—causes the body to convert the nitrates into nitrites, producing methemoglobin. While methemoglobin is oxygen-rich, it cannot carry oxygen, causing the infant to display tinges of blues around the mouth, hands, and feet. In some cases, symptoms include trouble breathing, diarrhea, vomiting, unconsciousness, seizures, and may potentially result in fatality. 19

Ponds and Dugouts

Common across Canada, ponds and dugouts are a vital source of water for rural residents. Often used for household consumption, the water stored in these small freshwater reservoirs is generally collected via surface runoff bringing with it a wide range of unwanted—and potentially dangerous—contaminants. These may include disease-causing organisms, decomposed plant material, fuels and solvents, pesticides, plant nutrients, and suspended sediment.

A pilot study in Alberta 20 detected coliforms (a group of bacteria commonly found in animal waste, sewage, soil and vegetation) in 86% of dugouts tested, with 71% exceeding Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines. Sixty-eight percent had detectable levels of fecal coliforms from animal or human waste. While coliforms in themselves are not likely to cause serious illness, their presence as “indicator bacteria” may signal the contamination of your water supply by more harmful microorganisms. Remarkably, 42% of the farmers surveyed did not treat the water taken from their dugout for drinking, and 27% had never had their water tested!

If you’re only worried about lead in your drinking water, you may be able to pick up a free water test kit from your local public health office for laboratory analysis or purchase a DIY kit online or from an accredited laboratory. (For a list of guidelines for various Canadian cities, see the Toronto Star’s article How to find out if you have lead in your tap water — and what you can do about it. 21 Easy to use and fast, you’ll get an exact positive or negative result telling you whether the lead in your water exceeds Health Canada’s maximum acceptable concentration of 5 micrograms per litre, or 5 parts per billion (ppb).

Tap Score: The Best Water Quality Test Kit for Your Home Water Test

But if you are serious about the health of you and your family, Tap Score is the only home water testing service applying toxicological and epidemiological research to give you an accurate contaminant profile of your water, along with unbiased treatment matching and up-to-date health risk analysis. Developed by a team of scientists from Berkeley, Tap Score tests for more than 105 contaminants, including lead, mercury, arsenic, and other metals; trihalomethanes (a broad class of industrial chemicals); pesticides; bacteria; and nitrates (from farm runoff).

What sort of information does Tap Score provide?

The intuitive, easy to read report tells you exactly which compounds—and how much—are in your water, a clear explanation of what each means, the potential health risks, and steps to resolve any issues.
For example, if your water registered an elevated level of bromodichloromethane, your Tap Score report tells you:

• What bromodichloromethane is (a by-product of disinfectants and municipal water treatment chemicals)
• The potential health risks (developmental defects,
kidney and liver damage, nervous system problems)
• What level is considered to be a risk (0.1 ppm),
and how your tap water compares
• How to address the problem is there is one.

Tap Score also offers online support through chat or email, with a response from one of their water experts emailed to you within 24-48 hours.

Tap Score’s home water test kit is an easy to use, send-away kit. After ordering your water test kit and receiving it from Canada Post within 1-2 days, it’s as easy as 1-2-3.

1. Take samples of your water
2. Put the water samples into the bottles supplied
3. Ship them to a certified laboratory using the enclosed box and mailing label

Once your water test results are ready within 5-10 days (depending on the test you chose i.e. Lead & Arsenic, Coliform & E.Coli, or the comprehensive Essential), you’ll receive an email with credentials to log on to the Tap Score online portal.

There you’ll find your water analysis with an overview of how your water compares to others, and a Watch List displaying contaminants identified (both regulated and unregulated) to be at potentially harmful levels along with their health effects. You’ll also get an aesthetic breakdown of common sources of strange colours, smells, or tastes, and an unbiased opinion on products you can use to treat the contaminants found in your water. And if there’s anything you don’t understand, you can contact us online.

Tap Score contracts accredited ISO/IEC 17025 laboratories for all water tests. This ensures that all tests and results impacting public health and safety are competently handled and not unduly influenced by external pressures.

  1. www.ourcommons.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/TRAN/report-21/
  2. sunnybrook.ca/research/content/?page=sri-centres-focused-ultrasound-tremor
  3. www.medtronic.com/ca-en/your-health/conditions/essential-tremor.html
  4. www.ctvnews.ca/health/worried-about-lead-in-your-water-here-are-some-steps-you-can-take-1.4670883
  5. www.concordia.ca/news/stories/2019/11/04/concordia-collaborative-investigation-prompts-governments-of-quebec-and-montreal-to-take-action-against-lead.html?rootnav=news/stories
  6. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flint_water_crisis
  7. www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-lead-testing/
  8. www.watercanada.net/climate-change-threatens-drinking-water-quality-across-great-lakes/
  9. www.news-herald.com/news/ohio/toledo-upgrades-raw-water-from-lake-erie-to-clear
  10. www.conferenceboard.ca/hcp/Details/Environment/water-quality-index.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1#_ftnref3
  11. www.watercanada.net/grassy-narrows-first-nation-ends-all-long-term-drinking-water-advisories/
  12. www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/programs/consultation-withdrawl-guidelines-drinking-water/document.html#a2
  13. canadians.org/analysis/suspending-water-quality-monitoring-oversight-or-disaster-capitalism
  14. www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/environmental-workplace-health/reports-publications/water-quality.html
  15. www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0085253815536120
  16. www.thestar.com/news/canada/2018/05/11/in-2000-walkertons-poisoned-water-ruined-his-life-he-decided-it-was-time-to-end-it.html
  17. www.thestar.com/news/ontario/2008/10/16/walkerton_study_links_e_coli_poisoning_kidney_disease.html
  18. www.agr.gc.ca/eng/agriculture-and-the-environment/agricultural-practices/agriculture-and-water/watershed-protection/agriculture-and-water-quality/?id=1371491033072
  19. www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/diseases-risks/diseases/methaemoglob/en/
  20. www.agr.gc.ca/eng/agriculture-and-the-environment/agricultural-practices/agriculture-and-water/watershed-protection/agriculture-and-water-quality/?id=1371491033072
  21. www.thestar.com/news/investigations/2019/11/04/what-you-can-do-to-find-out-if-you-have-lead-in-your-tap-water.html

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