More than 20 provinces have issued warnings to motorists in recent months about the risk of exposure to lead in their vehicles, following an outbreak in British Columbia and an alarming spike in cases in other parts of the country.
But Ontario, New Brunswick and Alberta have so far not issued similar advisories, saying that even the most diligent motorists could fall ill.
The provinces have also launched campaigns in some cases to inform motorists that the use of lead-based paint is banned, even though the federal government has yet to take action.
Lead paint is used in cars to protect against lead exposure in homes.
If you are using a lead-free paint, please follow the instructions in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
If you have a paint hazard, please contact us as soon as possible to ensure that you have the right precautions in place, the provincial government said in a statement.
“We are not in a position to issue any advisories at this time,” said Kathleen Gagnon, a spokeswoman for the ministry.
Ontario, the fourth-largest province in Canada, has been the focus of a series of alerts issued by the provincial health ministry in recent weeks to warn drivers of the dangers of lead paint.
Earlier this month, Ontario Public Health Minister Margo Bennett said that although lead paint has been banned in Ontario, the province is still looking for ways to make vehicles more vulnerable to lead poisoning.
More than 300,000 Ontario vehicles are fitted with the lead-safe paint system, which is approved for use in the province by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Association.
As of last year, the Ontario Ministry of Health said it had tested more than 3.6 million vehicles and found that more than 2,000 cases of lead poisoning had been reported since the paint ban took effect in November 2014.
In January, the health ministry said it was investigating more than 200 cases of people with elevated blood lead levels.
Since the new Ontario paint ban came into effect, health officials have been urging drivers to follow the vehicle owner’s instructions on how to clean their vehicles before venting out, such as putting a filter in the radiator.
However, a spokesperson for the Ontario Public Safety Minister said it’s unclear whether the ministry has ever issued an official advisory about the risks of exposure.
A spokesperson for New Brunswick’s health ministry declined to comment on the province’s advisories.
The Canadian Automobile Association said that since lead paint is not approved for sale in New Brunswick, the association is not sure whether it would be in the best interest of the provincial economy to issue advisories about the safety of lead vehicles.
Last month, the CAA issued a statement calling for the use or use of alternative paints, such the non-lead paint, to protect vehicles from lead.
According to the association, vehicles made from non-stick materials like aluminum and stainless steel have been shown to reduce lead poisoning rates, while other materials, like wood and rubber, can contain up to 40 per cent of lead.
The CAA said that if a vehicle manufacturer is using lead-contaminated paint on a vehicle, the manufacturer must ensure that the vehicle is equipped with a proper filter.
With files from The Associated Press