More than 400,000 people die a year from lead poisoning. Additionally lead poisoning can cause serious health problems for people, especially in the elderly, children and newborns. Next month we will provide a more general overview of lead poisoning. But this month, we focus on lead poisoning in your water supply, how to prevent it, and what to do if you have it.
Sources of Lead Poisoning in the Water Supply
There are a few ways lead can enter the water supply in your home.
- First, the lead can enter your home through your municipal water supply. This is actually very rare, as water should be treated with anti-corrosive elements to prevent lead from leaching into the water before it gets to your home. But it can happen.
- More common is the water comes into your home lead-free, but lead exposure is introduced in your home. This is most typical in older homes. Possible sources:
- Pipes installed in homes built before 1930
- Copper pipes with lead solder in household plumbing installed before 1985
- Brass or chrome-plated faucets and ball valves
- Additionally, your garden hose may contain lead.
The amount of lead in water is more severe when the water has high acidity or low mineral content.
Eliminating the Risk
- The first thing you can do is make sure lead is not entering your home’s water supply in the first place. Your local water authority or a certified lab can come out and test the water to see if there is lead contamination. If so, here are some next steps:
- If you have a lead service line coming into your home, ask if there are programs to assist with the removal of lead service lines.
- Inside your home, have a plumber inspect the pipes, the solder and the faucets and fixtures. Replace anything that contains lead.
- This advice is the same if you are buying a home.
Here are some other things you can do to minimize the risk if you are not sure there is lead in your drinking water, or while you are waiting for the problem to be addressed:
- Run the tap water you use for drinking and cooking through a certified “point of use” filter.
- If you do not have such a filter, only drink or cook with cold water that has run through the tap for two minutes. The same holds true for the bathroom sink where you brush your teeth. Water that is warm or hot likely will have higher levels of lead.
- The extreme solution is to only use bottled water for these tasks. But that can get expensive.
Ravinia Plumbing, Sewer, Heating & Electric Can “Get the Lead Out” of Your Drinking Water
Ravinia Plumbing’s trained plumbers can check and see if there is lead in your drinking water. If there is, and the issue is related to your home’s plumbing, we can replace the pipes, faucets or fixtures, and can also install a point of use filter. We’ve been in business since 1928 (that’s 95 years!), and we’ve made a name for ourselves as one of the most trusted and reliable HVAC, plumbing, drain and sewer and electrical companies in Chicagoland. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.