A new study shows children exposed to any level of lead could suffer neurodevelopmental damage.

Lead can come from toys, plastic, water, paint and jewelry. According to EPCOR, 1.6 per cent of Edmonton homes have lead water service pipes.

“Lead is what we call a ‘no-threshold chemical,’ which means no level of exposure is safe,” said Irena Buka, the co-author for the advisory published by the Canadian Paediatric Society.

Buka, a University of Alberta pediatrician and the director of Edmonton's Children's Environmental Health Clinic, urges doctors to test for lead in children with issues such as speech delays.

Exposure to low levels of lead can be treated with, for example, speech and behaviour therapy.

One-in-six Canadian children has a neurodevelopmental delay, Buka said.

“I think it’s been felt for many decades that Canada is a new country with new infrastructure and that the issue is unlikely to occur here,” she said.

“If we don’t address all potential causes, then we’re getting behind and we’re not serving the next generation and the generation after it.”