How do we end up drinking water with lead in it? The pipes supplying the water to your home from the water main may be made of lead or have lead solder on copper pipes. Lead could leach from the pipe or solder into the water if the water is corrosive. The plumbing fixtures inside your home can be constructed using lead components. Lead water hazards exist in communities all across the United States, not just Flint MI.
The EPA has set the maximum contaminant level (MCL) goal for lead in drinking water at zero. The EPA doesn’t actually have an enforceable MCL for lead in public drinking water, since the lead can enter the water supply inside the consumer’s home. This doesn’t mean that there are no regulations – if 10% of tap water samples exceed the lead action level of 15 parts per billion, water systems have to take action to reduce the public’s exposure to that lead. Drinking water with lead levels below 15 ppb shouldn’t be considered to be safe – especially for children – since lead can be harmful to people even at very low exposure levels.
You can’t tell if the water your children is drinking has been contaminated by lead by sight, taste or smell alone – it must be tested to know that it’s safe to drink. It’s especially important to test your water if your house is older and you’ve had plumbing work done, or if your water comes from a private well (unlike public water sources, there’s no federal requirement to test private well water for lead).
Contact us today to find out if there’s lead in your water.
Listen to the May 2nd On Point program “Lead In Our Water: The National Picture“, which revisited the Reuters Investigation on lead hazards across the USA – “Unsafe at Any Level: A Quest for Clean Water” (originally published in December 2016). Michael Pell, one of the authors of the investigation, and several other panelists discussed the ongoing problems of elevated blood lead levels in the USA and where the lead is coming from.