How does lead get into my tap water?
Due to the high levels of lead in the tap water in the Flint, Michigan water crisis fallout, many people are concerned and are wondering if there is lead in their own tap water. Lead pipes, older fixtures or lead solders that connects pipes have been known to corrode with time, leach into drinking water and can cause serious health consequences as the residents of Flint are now experiencing.
How do I know if my tap water is contaminated with lead?
Many older homes that were built before the 20th century commonly used lead pipes and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency along with the Safe Drinking Water Act have taken substantial measures to reduce exposures to lead in tap water. Regardless, traces of lead can still be found in some tap water. Since you are unable to see, taste or smell lead in drinking water, the best way to determine whether your tap water contains lead is to have it tested.
What can I do if I found lead in my tap water?
If you have had your water tested and found lead in your tap water that is higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s action level of 15 ppb, you can take action to minimize your exposure to lead in your tap water. Try to find the source of the lead contamination by asking your local authorities if the service pipe or header pipe at the street has lead in it. If the header pipe does not contain lead, the source of the lead may be coming somewhere in your home, such as a fixture or pipe.
How do I minimize my exposure to lead?
You can minimize your exposure to lead by considering a full replacement of lead pipes in your home. You also have the option of contacting your city to replace water service lines. While human skin does not absorb lead through a bath or shower, drinking or cooking with lead-contaminated water does pose several health risks. You can minimize your exposure to lead by consuming only bottled water, or water from a certified water filtration system.
Please contact your AllGood plumber for more information on testing for lead in your tap water, if you think you have lead pipes and need to have your house re-piped, or if you are thinking of installing a home water filtration system.