We’ve all heard of the dangers of lead paint, but what about lead in drinking water? Lead is a metal and is a potential, depending on geographic location and
quality of water, contaminant found in hard water. How dangerous is it, really? How can you tell if you have lead in your water? If you do, what can you do about it?
Lead and health
Consuming drinking water contaminated with lead can be dangerous, increasing risk especially to young children. Lead poisoning is a serious condition, and while rarely found in drinking water in the United States, still pops up once in a while.
In most geographical locations, water filtration from support treatment sources carefully regulates quality of water in a community. Still, lead can still leach into water from older homes that contain plumbing that contains lead, soldered materials, or faucets primarily found in older structures. If you’re a homeowner with an older home, it’s important to run the water for at least one minute every morning before use. Avoid use of hot tap water for drinking. Another source of lead in water is through contaminated soil. People and animals can inadvertently carry lead into the home through dirt, but again, this is a fairly rare occurrence.
A number of health conditions for both children and adults can result from lead ingestion. These conditions affect neural and brain activity, muscle and bone growth, and can cause damage to primary organs in the body.
Do you have lead in your drinking water?
In order to determine if you have any lead in your drinking water, be aware of numerous community resources to get answers. The Environmental Protection Agency requires community water suppliers to provide annual water quality reports for customers. If your household water comes from a well or other private water supply, contact your local health department for information regarding contaminants.
Homeowners concerned about potential lead contamination should have their water tested for lead. You can’t see it, taste it, or smell it. You can find listings of certified laboratories locally or statewide that provide analysis of water for between $20 and $100.
Don’t take chances with your water supply. If in doubt, get it checked.