There has been a lot of attention on lead in drinking water due to the cases in Flint Michigan and Chicago Illinois. So is this just an overblown issue or is lead a real problem? The answer is a yes, Lead is a big problem for many people living in older homes and neighborhoods.
What is lead?
Lead is a toxic metal that was used in pipes for many years. Even at low levels, lead may cause a range of health effects including behavioral problems and learning disabilities. Children six years old and under are most at risk because this is when the brain is developing. Older neighborhoods may have lead pipes that are used to bring water from the main service line into the home. A prohibition on lead in plumbing materials has been in effect since 1986.
What are lead’s health effects?
Infants and children who drink water containing lead in excess of the action level could experience delays in their physical or mental development. Children could show slight deficits in attention span and learning abilities. Adults who drink this water over many years could develop kidney problems or high blood pressure.
How does lead get into my drinking water?
Lead enters drinking water through corrosion of plumbing systems; and erosion of natural deposits. Lead leaches into water through contact with the plumbing and through corrosion – a dissolving or wearing away of metal caused by a chemical reaction between water and plumbing. Lead can leach into water from pipes, solder, fixtures and faucets and fittings. The amount of lead in your water also depends on the types and amounts of minerals in the water, how long the water stays in the pipes, the amount of wear in the pipes, the water’s acidity and its temperature.
EPA estimates that 10 to 20 percent of human exposure to lead may come from lead in drinking water. Infants who consume mostly mixed formula can receive 40 to 60 percent of their exposure to lead from drinking water.
What About Free Test Kits Available at the Store?
Beware of anything that says “free”. These samples are typically checked with an inaccurate test strip or other screening procedure and not analyzed by a certified lab using EPA approved methods. Furthermore, companies that offer these tests are usually trying to sell you an expensive water treatment system.
How Can I Test my Water for Lead?
Suburban Laboratories makes it easy. Simply order the test kit from our website and we will send you a sample bottle and simple collection instructions.
Order your test kit from drinkingwaterlabs.com today.