Lead In Water

POSTED BY on Feb 16 under Lead Awareness

IMG_0690I’ve had quite a few phone calls since the story of Flint Michigan’s lead fiasco hit the news. I regularly collect and send water samples for analysis. Water is considered to be lead contaminated at and above 15 parts per million, that’s 0.0015% lead!  Fortunately the results here in the San Francisco Bay Area are usually good. Testing your water for lead and crossing your home’s water system off the list of potential sources for lead poisoning in your home will bring you peace of mind and a release from one source of worry.
Here are a few things you can do to reduce lead from your home’s water system:

  1. Update your faucets. Any faucet, angle stop (the valve located in the cabinet below the faucet), valve, pipe or fixture that was in your home prior to January 2010 may contain lead in un-safe amounts. All plumbing pipes, fittings and fixtures as of January 1, 2010 are now required to be “Lead Free”; lead free is .25% or less in the “wetted surfaces” (surfaces in contact with water). Faucets, fixtures etc. manufactured before January 1, 2010 may contain 8% or more lead in the wetted surfaces of the fixtures.
  2. Never use hot tap water for any cooking or drinking. Hot water will leach, or pull more lead from your pipes and fixtures than cold water. Always start with cold water for any water that you and your family will consume.
  3. Do not use stagnant water; water that has sat in your homes pipes for an extended period (6 hours or more) will have had the opportunity to leach lead from your homes water components. Run your water until it gets as cold as it can before you use it consumption. In our time of drought, this makes me feel guilty so I catch the water in a pitcher or bucket and use it on my plants and such. Letting the water reach it’s coldest usually indicates its fresh from the main in the street should be as lead free as it can be.
  4. Use a filter certified by the National Science Foundation (NSF). You can check filters at this link:   http://info.nsf.org/Certified/DWTU/.
  5. This a little off topic, butt I just tested a bunch of ceramic dishware labeled “Lead Free” that contained high levels of lead in the glaze. Be careful of the products you purchase; anything made outside the  U.S and countries with strict lead regulations is suspect.
  6. Review my post on lead in bath tub glaze. If you have an old tub you may not want to bathe your children in it.

Lastly, if your diet is low in calcium and iron your body will retain more of the lead you ingest. Making sure your family gets plenty calcium and iron will help to reduce the amount of lead your body will retain. Lead is a metal as are calcium and iron, your body will put the lead to use in the same places that calcium and iron are used; which is just about everywhere!


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