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Lead Contaminated water? How to protect yourself from this water?

There is no safe level exposure to lead. This now makes way into our drinking water supply after leaching from old pipes. The heavy metal can cause severe damage to the human body, affecting the nervous system, cognitive ability, fertility etc. The most common sources of lead in drinking water are through pipes, faucets and plumbing fixtures. Mainly the older pipes that have still not been changed will have lead content. Lead can enter drinking water when a chemical reaction occurs in plumbing materials that contain lead. This is known as corrosion – dissolving or wearing away of metal from the pipes and fixtures. This reaction is more severe when water has high acidity or low mineral content.

How much lead enters the water is related to:-

The Acidity or alkalinity of the water
The types and amounts of minerals in the water
The amount of lead that water comes into contact with
The water temperature
The amount of wear in the pipes
How long the water stays in the pipe

Let’s look at some ways to protect ourselves

1. Choose and Maintain the water
Install and use water filters that are certified to remove lead content. Ensure the filter cartridges are changed regularly.

2. Maintain Faucet Aerators
Remove and clean individual faucet aerators as lead particles and sediment can collect in the aerator screen.

3. Protect Growing bodies
Water consumed by children should be checked and tested. We are all protective of our children. Pregnant women should also be careful about the water they consume. Get in touch with a doctor for precautionary measures.

4. Get the Main pipes checked or replaced
If there is lead content, the pipes need to be changed from the mains and not just a small portion. Ensure a certified plumber gets the work done.

Ways to reduce exposure to lead

Run the water to flush the lead out.
Use cold, fresh water for drinking, cooking etc
Do not boil water to remove lead.
Test your child for lead
Consider using filters
Clean faucet aerators

You cannot see, smell or taste lead in the water. The best way to find out is by identifying the source of lead to the potential pipes and plumbing system. Ensure the water tanks are cleaned regularly as well since the main place of storing the water for daily usage is the water tank.

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