Do you know if there is lead in your water? No matter if you have a private well or municipal water, lead could be a problem. Though the treatment plants do test for that, a lot of the contamination can occur after the water leaves the facility. Either way, you’ll want to periodically test the water that comes out of your tap to determine if there’s lead in it. If there is, you’ll want to find a way to correct the problem to reduce your exposure.
The Problem With Lead
Lead is a toxic metal and repeated exposure can cause health problems. The issue is that products containing lead, such as pipes, are often purposefully used in the home. In 1986, an amendment was passed as part of the Safe Water Drinking Act that required the use of lead-free pipes. If your home was built after 1986, you shouldn’t have to worry. However, this doesn’t mean there isn’t lead in your water supply. It’s still important to get your water tested by a reputable laboratory on a regular basis.
The truth is, lead is harmful even when only exposed to small amounts. It can harm the tissues in the heart, kidneys, intestines, bones, reproductive systems, and nervous systems. In children under six, lead exposure is a particular problem because it can negatively impact brain development. Symptoms of lead poisoning range from stomach pain, seizures, headaches, and even a coma. If you think you’ve been exposed to excess amounts of lead, address your concerns with your physician.
What to Do if You Have Lead
If you find out that you have lead in your drinking water, you’ll want to address the situation immediately. The first thing you should do is determine if you have lead pipes in your home and consider getting them replaced, if possible. However, this is a costly, disruptive project. There is a more immediate solution.
You can purchase a water filtration system that will remove the lead from your water before you drink it.
• Reverse Osmosis – These units are considered effective for removing lead from the water.
• Water Filters – Most filters do remove some lead. However, the amount they remove can vary so you’ll want to check with the product manufacturer.
Both reverse osmosis units and water filters are available in a variety of different styles. For example, many bottleless water coolers use reserve osmosis technology to remove impurities. Filters are available in units that attach to the faucet or under the sink. You’ll want to check with the manufacturer to determine how effective it is at removing the lead.
Before you even start using filtration, you’ll want to spend some time flushing your pipes. Lead can collect in your pipes in any standing water. By letting your tap water run for a few minutes at the beginning of each day, this can reduce the amount of lead that needs to be eliminated. Once you address the problem, you’ll still want to test the water on a regular schedule, just to be safe.