Water supplies can contain a variety of minerals and contaminants, but one of the most potentially dangerous is lead. So, here we’ll delve into this topic to determine if reverse osmosis could provide a viable treatment option.

The Dangers of Lead Water Contamination

Lead is a naturally occurring metal, and it has been used as a building material since Ancient Rome. It was used for lining aqueducts, making pipes, paints and even cosmetic products. Since lead was so versatile and adaptable, it was used up until the 1970s when it was banned due to its also being highly toxic.

While lead can be potentially dangerous for anyone, children are particularly vulnerable. Lead exposure in children can cause slowed growth, a lowered IQ, learning difficulties and hyperactivity. Adults may experience reproductive problems, cardiovascular issues and hypertension.

For this reason, the EPA determined a maximum contaminant level for lead of zero.

But, Is Lead Contamination a Real Issue?

You may already be aware of the dangers of lead and appreciate that the lead regulations are stringent. So, does this mean that you don’t need to worry about lead contamination?

Unfortunately, no. While the Safe Drinking Water Act ensures that there is great scrutiny about water sources and purification, there are still issues such as the contamination in Flint, Michigan. You can check the water quality report from your municipality to see if there are lead issues in your area.

Additionally, lead contamination can also occur inside your home.

The most common source of lead contamination in drinking water is due to corrosion of pipes and lead fixtures. If your home was built before 1986, it is possible that it has lead pipes which may allow lead to leach into the water as they corrode. This means that you may be ingesting lead that could be bioaccumulating inside your body.

Does Reverse Osmosis Eliminate Lead?

If you have concerns about lead in your water supply, whether from your water source or contamination inside your home, you may wonder if a reverse osmosis system can correct the problem.

A reverse osmosis system forces liquid through a semipermeable membrane, separating the purified water from untreated water. Imagine how a coffee filter creates coffee as water is passed through the beans in the filter, leaving the beans behind. The same principle applies with RO, as contaminants and impurities from the water are left behind to create purified water.

Reverse osmosis can be an effective way to remove a number of water contaminants including arsenic, iron, mercury, fluoride and lead.

The membrane typically has a pore size of 0.0001 microns, which means that it can also remove viruses and bacteria from drinking water supplies. You can also have an RO system with a pre filter to remove sediment and a post water filter that can trap particles such as chlorine.

If you have concerns about your water quality and are interested in a reverse osmosis system, be sure to speak to your local water treatment specialist.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.