Lead in Drinking Water
What Is Lead?
Lead is a naturally occurring bluish-gray metal found in small amounts of the earth’s outer layer and in all areas of our environment.
Great deals of lead are generated from human activities such as processing fossil fuels, mining, and manufacturing. Lead was also used commonly in household plumbing materials and water service lines.
How Does Lead Get Into My Drinking Water?
Lead typically enters tap water through corrosion of plumbing materials in the home or in the service connections. It is unusual for it to be found in the actual water source unless some type of contamination has occurred. Homes built prior to the mid 1980’s are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures and solder. New homes are also at risk as current lead free solder for plumbing may contain up to 8 percent lead.
How Bad For Me Is Lead In My Drinking Water?
Lead in drinking water causes a variety of adverse health effects. In babies and children, lead in drinking water can result in delays in physical and mental development. Also related to lead are deficits in attention span and learning abilities. Lead can affect almost every organ and system in the body.
Too much lead in your blood can cause blood disorders such as anemia and increase blood pressure. Studies have also linked it to damage of the reproductive system in men. Higher levels can decrease a person’s reaction time, create weakness in fingers, wrists, or ankles and even affect their memory. It can also cause serious damage to the brain, kidneys, nervous system and red blood cells.
How Can I Treat My Drinking Water For Lead?
First, try to identify and remove the lead source. Check both the well and the pump for potential lead sources. A licensed well water contractor can help you determine if any of the well components are a source of lead.
Please DO NOT heat or boil your water to remove lead. Because some of the water evaporates during the boiling process, the lead concentration of the water can actually increase as the water is boiled.
If it’s not possible to remove the lead source, flushing the water system before using the water for drinking or cooking is strongly advised. If a faucet has not been used for several hours run the water for about 2-3 minutes. Do this to each faucet individually before using the water for drinking or cooking. Avoid cooking with or drinking water from hot water taps because hot water dissolves lead more readily than cold water does.
You may also wish to consider water treatment methods such as reverse osmosis, distillation, and carbon filters specially designed to remove lead. Typically these methods are used to treat water at only one faucet. Water softening can help reduce the level but does not guarantee removal. NSF International.
If you think you have lead in your drinking water, contact one of our specialists to discuss your options.
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