Lead in drinking water can have significant negative health impacts on children and adults, especially pregnant adults. Read on to learn more about this heavy metal, how to find out if it’s in your water, and the steps you can take for clean, healthy drinking water.
What Is Lead?
Lead, or Pb on the periodic table of elements, is a toxic heavy metal that is water soluble, meaning it dissolves into water. It does not pass easily out of the body and can accumulate in the body over time, sometimes reaching dangerous and damaging levels.
How Does Lead Get into Water?
Lead can get into drinking water when pipes and fittings that contain lead begin to corrode—the lead can break away and dissolve into the water system. This can happen when water has a high acidity or low mineral content, which creates conditions that are ideal for metal to break down. Lead pipes are more likely to be found in older towns and homes built before 1986. It can also make its way into homes through the use of lead solder (used to join pipes) and the use of brass fittings, which can leach lead into the water even when plated in chrome.
Some of the conditions that need to be considered when determining if lead can get into drinking water include the chemistry of the water, the temperature of the water, the age of pipes, the amount of time that water rests in the pipes, and whether or not the pipes have been coated with scales or substances to protect the water from lead absorption.
How Can I Tell If There’s Lead in My Water?
Start with the structure of your home. Your local municipality may have information they can provide you with about whether or not there are lead pipes and/or fittings in the area where you live. You can also talk to them about sampling and testing; many municipal water boards will come and test for free if you are on a central water line. Unfortunately, for those families who source their water from wells, the city will not be able to test this. However, they may be able to point you in the direction of a lab that can help with water sampling from your well.
If you’re interested in learning more about what’s in your water, we can help! Click here to learn more about how you can schedule a free in-home water test.
What Can I Do If There is Lead in My Water?
There are a few basic safety tips you and your family can take. You can ensure never to consume hot water directly from the tap, as this could be leaching metals from the pipes it passes through. You can also run the water from your primary drinking faucet for about five minutes each morning to flush out the pipes and bring fresh water into the pipes. You cannot remove lead from water by boiling it—this actually concentrates the amount of lead in the water and can be more dangerous.
The best way to address lead in your drinking water is through filtration systems that can capture and remove dissolved lead almost entirely. For this, you will need a system that is NSF International certified, and one that uses either—or both—carbon filtration and reverse osmosis systems. Fortunately, the experts at Simply Green Home Services are always ready to help you find the water filtration solution that best fits your family’s needs. Reach out today and see what Simply Green can do for you!