File photo (Water Wells First)

An expert independent panel is being formed to investigate well water in Chatham Kent, Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton announced today, July 19.

A media release issued by McNaughton’s office says the five-member independent panel will determine if the water from private wells in Chatham-Kent is safe for consumption.

“Our government made a promise to strike this panel,” stated McNaughton.

“Today we are fulfilling that promise.”

The five-member independent panel will consist of four experienced toxicologists and one local geologist.

All members are independent from government and are experienced toxicology professionals that have served on advisory committees.

The panel is empowered to take a fresh look at new samples collected from certain water wells in Chatham-Kent where residents have raised questions about water quality.

Samples from up to 189 private wells will be taken by a third-party business and tested by a commercial laboratory.

“Barely one year after this promise was made, we are fulfilling it,” McNaughton said.

“And we’re doing it in a way that will inspire confidence from the people of this community. People can trust the results this independent panel delivers.”

The five independent experts comprising the panel are:

– Dr. Keith Benn, PhD – A local geologist and past professor of geology at University of Ottawa.

– Dr. Glenn Ferguson, PhD, QPRA – An environmental health scientist with 25 years experience in toxicology, epidemiology, and human health risk assessment.

– Dr. Shelley A. Harris, PhD – An epidemiologist and associate professor at University of Toronto who specializes in exposure measurement.

– Dr. Ron Brecher, PhD – A specialist in toxicology, risk assessment and risk communication.

– Mark Chappel, MSc, DABT – A toxicologist with significant experience in supervising and managing comprehensive toxicity studies.

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