The problem of lead in the drinking water has come to the forefront of public consciousness lately, thanks to the crisis of lead-contaminated drinking water in the town of Flint, Michigan. Chances are that the news has you thinking about your own drinking water and whether or not it's safe from similar contamination. Take a look at some of the things that you should know about lead contamination and how to avoid it.
How Does Lead Get into the Water?
The simplest answer is that when water flows through lead pipes, either the pipes inside and leading into your household or the larger pipes belonging to the city water supply corrode and the lead seeps into the water. However, the lead pipes themselves aren't the only problem. Most of the time, the water is treated with chemicals that prevent the lead from leaching into it. The problem comes when the water is left untreated. This is what happened in Flint.
How to Tell If Your Water Is Safe
Lead isn't always easily detected, so how do you know that your water is being treated and is safe from contamination? It should be easy to find out. Your water supplier is supposed to test the water regularly, and they should provide you with a copy of the test results upon request. This is called a Consumer Confidence Report.
If your water supplier won't give you the test results, you can contact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by calling their Safe Drinking Water Hotline. Or you can hire a private laboratory to test your water. There are even home test kits that you can use to test the tap water in your home yourself. While home kits can't detect every possible contaminant, they are equipped to detect lead, as well as arsenic, pesticides, and bacteria.
The Dangers of Lead
There are many reasons why you want your water to be free of lead. Unlike some other metals, lead has no useful purpose in the body, even in small amounts. However, exposure to lead can quickly become toxic, especially in children. Children suffering from lead exposure may experience serious neurological and behavioral damage, even from a low amount of exposure. High levels of lead exposure in children can lead to convulsions, ataxia, coma, and death.
Adults are not safe from the effects of lead, either. In an adult, lead exposure symptoms may manifest in dizziness, fatigue, impaired concentration, irritability, weakness, depression, and more. In short, the dangers of lead exposures are very real and serious, and it's important to take the risk seriously and take whatever steps you can to minimize exposure.
Reduce Your Risk
One way to considerably cut down on the risk of lead poisoning is to make sure that there is no lead in your pipes to begin with. You can start by finding out whether or not you have lead pipes or fixtures in your current plumbing system. A plumbing service can inspect your home's pipe system for you and determine whether or not it contains lead parts.
If the pipes do contain lead, then you may decide to have your home's plumbing system replaced. You have several lead-free options available to you, including copper piping, PVC piping, and PEX piping. A pipe replacement is an expensive home improvement. PEX piping is one of the least expensive options, costing between fifty cents and two dollars a foot, while copper piping is one of the most expensive options, running between two and four dollars per foot.
If you're interested in having lead pipes removed from your home, contact a local plumber in your area, like one from A Absolute Plumbing & Heating, for an estimate and to find out which type of pipes are best for your home.Share
25 January 2016
The quality of the air in your home is something that you should keep in mind every day. If the air that you breathe each day is filled with impurities, it can cause you to get sick more often and complicate matters if anyone in your home suffers from asthma or allergies. This blog is all about purifying the air in your home. You will learn everything about filtration systems and filters for your heating system to what you can do around the home to keep the air as clean as possible and create a healthy living space for your family.