LEAD and Drinking Water

. Wednesday, October 1, 2008
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In 1986, the Environmental protection Agency reported that an estimated 40 million Americans may be drinking water containing an unacceptable level of lead. Exercise exposure to lead can cause serious damage to the brain. Kidneys, nervous system, and red bloods cells.Young children, infants, and fetuses are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning.

Currently, the EPA sets a limits of up to 50 parts per billions for lead in drinking water, and, generally, local water-treatment plants have no problems meeting this standard; water leaving the treatment plants usually relatively lead-free. However, lead levels can increase significantly after the water leaves the treatment plants, due to corrosion of lead-containing pipes or solder. Amendment passed in 1986 to safe drinking water act require that only lead-free pipes and solder be used in new pipes and plumbing repairs in public water supplies and in residences connected to public water supplies. In June of 1988, the EPA also lowered the limits for lead in the drinking water to 20 part per billions or fewer.

The major source of contamination of household water is the lead solder that, until recently, was used in joints of copper plumbing. Lead can also from old lead pipes, which were frequently used for interior plumbing and in municipal water system built before 1930. Whether or not lead is leached from pipes and joints depends o the corrosiveness of the water flowing through he pipes. The more acidic “soft” the water is, the greater its ability to pull lead from the pipes,. The local water supply authority can provide information about the corrosiveness of the water.

The best way for hometown or apartment dwellers to determinate the lead content of drinking water is to have the water tested. This is particularly important if the the plumbing was installed before 1930. plumbing installed within the last five years-if lead solder was used is also more likely to cause contamination, since leaching from lead solders diminishes after five years, contact the local water utility or the local health department for information and assistance regarding water testing. Individuals should check their water pipes, looking for a dull gray color of the joints or pipes them selves. Silver indicates plumbing made of other metals, when in doubt., try scratching the metal with a key; lead is soft enough to be easily scratched .

The following steps can also taken in the home to protect against excessive lead in the drinking water.
  • In the morning or after any prolonged period of nonuse, let the cold water run until it be comes as cold as it will get. This should be done for each faucet in he household used for drinking or cooking. In this way, the water that has been standing in the pipes and accumulating lead will be flushed out. (This water can be used for bathing purposes.)

  • Avoid using hot water from the tap for cooking or for mixing hot drinks or baby formula, as hot water tends to dissolves more lead from pipes than cold water.

  • Avoid water softeners, or use them only on the hot-water line. Harder water leaches far less than does softened water.


Ken said...

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Steve Berke said...

I enjoyed reading your article :) PLease continue publishing helpful topics like this. Regards, from CWRenviro.

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