Lead in water is poisonous which effects the health of your family, especially children and pregnant women are much more vulnerable to its exposure. Lead can harm human body even if found in low levels. It slowly gets accumulated in human body and is capable of causing severe ill effects over time.
Lead enters in drinking water when plumbing material made up of lead corrodes. Its main sources can be faucets, fixtures, lead pipes and sometimes the water lines of your city may be made of lead. In older cities which are having plumbing materials prior to 1986 have more chances of lead exposure.
Young children and infants are much more vulnerable to lead poisoning as their bodies absorb it 4-5 times more as compare to adults. Exposure of lead is hazardous for multiple body systems. Lead is carried by blood to brain, liver, kidney and bones. As a result, it slowly gets accumulated in teeth and bones. A study shows that it can stay in children’s blood for months and in bones for years. Some of its ill effects are not even curable. Children which are undernourished and lack in calcium and iron may even have adverse effects. In rare cases, ingestion of lead may cause seizures, coma and even death. Some severe effects are as follow:
1. Behaviour and learning challenges
2. Adverse effect on nervous system
3. Slower growth
4. Hearing impairment
On pregnant women:
Lead bioaccumulate in the body over time, it can also penetrate the placental barrier thus exposing the fetus to lead. Slowly it gets stored in bones with calcium. Especially in pregnant women this stored calcium which contains lead is released via maternal calcium. Maternal calcium further helps form bones of fetus. The women with lesser dietary calcium can have higher risk to fetus. Excess of lead in pregnant women can even cause:
3. Premature birth
4. Low birth weight
Lead can have various severe ill effects on Adults exposed to lead as follow:
1. Cardiovascular diseases
2. Blood pressure
4. Kidney malfunctioning
4. Reproductive complications (men & women)
How to lower or eradicate lead exposure in water?
In case, you are worried about lead in water or know that your plumbing contains lead, you can take action to lower the lead amount in drinking water and mitigate the risks.
Firstly, to reduce exposure to lead you can use water through a “point-of-use” filter certified external icon by an independent testing organization to mitigate or remove lead (NSF/ANSI standard 53 for removing lead and NSF/ANSI standard 42 for removing particulate). In case your service line has lead, then you should prefer filter for the water used for drinking or cooking.
Secondly, to reduce lead exposure from home lead plumbing, you should flush the water before using especially if the water was off and sitting in the pipes for more than 6 hours. Run your faucet for 1-2 minutes before using it for drinking or cooking. Only water from the tap cold should be used. Tap warm can have higher exposure to lead. Even boiling the water never reduces the lead exposure in water.
Another option may not be practical and cost-effective for long term use, is using bottled water certified by an independent testing organization.