Lead In Drinking Water

water glass

 

Although your drinking water is not usually a concentrated lead source like paint, it can still pose risks to you and your family. Those at the greatest risk, even with short-term exposure, are young children and pregnant women. Lead in drinking water can be a problem for infants whose diet consists of liquids, such as baby formula made with water. Never use water with high lead levels (more than 15 ppb) to mix into infant formula. It can severly impair a child's development, resulting in learning disabilities or stunted growth. Exposure for adults primarily affects the peripheral nervous system and can cause impairment of hearing, vision, and muscle coordination. Lead is also toxic to the blood, kidney, heart, and reproductive system.

Lead can enter your water from several points: Old buried lead pipes that connect your house to the water main (service lines), lead pipe connectors, lead-soldered joints in copper plumbing, and Chrome-plated faucets are generally made of brass, which contains 3 to 8 percent lead.

In some private wells, underwater pumps with brass fittings can cause elevated lead concentrations in drinking water, especially with new pumps and soft water. Contamination can occur when water comes in contact with these fixtures.

When water stands in lead pipes or plumbing systems containing lead for several hours or more, the lead may dissolve into your drinking water. This means the first water drawn from the tap in the morning, or later in the afternoon after returning from work or school, can contain fairly high levels of lead.

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Last updated on  Dec 27, 2012