02/18/2016 18:57 EST | Updated 02/18/2017 00:12 EST

NDP says parents fear impacts of lead on children in northern B.C. schools

VICTORIA — New Democrat politician Jennifer Rice says parents in her coastal British Columbia riding are concerned children have been drinking lead-contaminated water at school for years.

Rice says she's been getting calls from frightened parents after children received a note from the school district warning that elevated lead levels were found in the water at four Prince Rupert schools.

Rice says parents are wondering if their children should be tested for lead poisoning, especially after learning elevated levels of lead and copper were found at schools in nearby Kitimat four years ago.

An April 2014 report from B.C.'s Centre for Disease Control, the University of British Columbia and three government agencies found high levels of lead and copper in school water following tests conducted in 2012.

Rice says there has been no widespread attempt to test lead levels in other schools since the discovery in 2012.

Provincial medical health officer Perry Kendall says he's not sure why broader warnings were not issued at the time, but he says blood tests on school children do not indicate increased lead levels.

The Canadian Press