The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has set the maximum contaminant level goal for lead in drinking water at zero because lead is a toxic metal that can be harmful to human health even at low exposure levels. Lead is persistent, and it can bioaccumulate in the body over time. Lead is a toxic metal that is persistent in the environment and can accumulate in the body over time. Risk will vary depending on the individual, the chemical conditions of the water, and the amount consumed.
Everyone knows that drinking water is essential for the human body, but do you know why? Water makes up about 60% of your body. Drinking water helps maintain the balance of bodily fluids. The functions of these bodily fluids include but are not limited to; digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. But how do you know if the water you drink is safe? Water that is lead-containing can be extremely hazardous to our health, especially for the elderly, adolescents, and immune-compromised individuals.
How does lead get in the water?
Lead rarely occurs naturally in water; it usually gets into the water from the delivery system. Lead pipes are the main contributor to high lead levels in tap water. Other sources include parts of the water delivery system such as lead solder used to join copper pipes, brass in faucets, coolers, and valves.
Corrosion is a dissolving or wearing away of metal caused by a chemical reaction between water and your plumbing. A number of factors are involved in the extent to which lead enters the water, including:
- the chemistry of the water (acidity and alkalinity) and the types and amounts of minerals in the water,
- the amount of lead it comes into contact with,
- the temperature of the water,
- the amount of wear in the pipes,
- how long the water stays in pipes, and
- The presence of protective scales or coatings inside the plumbing materials.\
To address corrosion of lead and copper into drinking water, EPA issued the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) under the authority of the SDWA. One requirement of the LCR is corrosion control treatment to prevent lead and copper from contaminating drinking water. Corrosion control treatment means utilities must make drinking water less corrosive to the materials it comes into contact with on its way to consumers’ taps. Learn more about EPA’s regulations to prevent lead in drinking water.
What happens when you drink water that contains Lead?
Lead poisoning can occur when lead enters the body. In most cases, it’s small amounts of lead consumed over time that build up and cause health problems. The main potential risk of lead exposure is drinking tap water if your property has lead pipes, a lead water tank, or pipework with lead fittings. In a small number of cases, this can result in lead contaminating the water supply. Exposure to lead can be harmful, especially to unborn babies and young children. Children absorb more lead than adults due to their growing bones and other organs which lead can become deposited.
The signs and symptoms in young children can include:
- Irritability and fatigue
- loss of appetite and weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Hearing Loss
- Developmental delay and learning difficulties
Although children are at increased risk of the effects of lead poisoning, exposure via drinking contaminated water can also result in illness in adults. Even if you are experiencing these symptoms, it does not always mean you have lead poisoning.
The symptoms in adults can include:
- High blood pressure
- Abdominal Pain
- Joint and Muscle pain
- Pain, numbness or tingling of the extremities
- Miscarriage or premature birth in pregnant women
- Memory Loss
Top 10 Myths About Lead in Drinking Water
- There is a safe level of lead exposure for drinking and cooking
- Lead in tap water is only an issue in the home
- If my city’s annual water report is clean, my home is safe
- Letting the tap run safe makes it safe to drink
- I have a water softener, so I don’t need a filter
- Only older homes are affected by lead in water
- Lead is only a problem in certain areas of the USA
- Well water isn’t affected by lead
- Boiling your water helps
- All filters remove lead, including my pitcher filter
How can you prevent lead poisoning and exposure? Contact BuildSafe Environmental for a Lead Water inspection. We will send out one of our trained and certified inspectors to complete the inspection. We will request that the water is not used for a minimum of 8 hours prior to the inspection. We will collect one sample at the first draw (water that has been sitting stagnant for 8 or more hours) and then do a 2-minute flush and collect another sample. We would collect samples in all fixtures that you and your family drink out of. We then take the samples to an accredited third-party laboratory for analysis. As soon as we get the results from the laboratory, we give you a call with our findings. Within two business days of your verbal results being delivered, you will receive the finalized inspection report and will know if your drinking water is safe to drink for you and your family. If you suspect you have a lead issue, contact us immediately at 720-598-0601.