Lead-contaminated water has been in the headlines for a few years. This is a serious problem, lead is toxic, and it can lead to a number of serious health problems. For this reason, many people have made the decision to install a final barrier to remove lead and other harmful contaminants from their drinking water. In this article, we will look at how lead gets into our water, the health consequences, and how to remove it.

How Does Lead Enter the Water Supply?

Lead contamination can occur when older lead plumbing fixtures corrode, and the lead leaches into the water supply. There is a higher risk in areas that are supplied with water that has a low mineral content and higher acidity. The presence of lead in water is not natural, but this is a common metal, and it was used in a wide variety of products, including paint, gasoline, plumbing materials, and many more. When lead was identified as a toxin in the 70s, the production of these products was slowed, and then it ceased entirely. But, many of these products are still present in our communities, and they are a health risk to this day. As an example: lead paint chips can fall from a roof during rainfall and enter the water supply.

How Much Toxic Lead is in the Water?

This is a meaningless question because there is no safe amount of lead. In fact, the EPA has set the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for lead to zero, which is rare. One of the more dangerous properties of lead is that it can accumulate within the body gradually. So, the exposure to toxic lead can actually rise sometime later, and in that way, it can be regarded as a ticking time bomb. The Safe Drinking Water Act will only designate a plumbing fixture as “lead free” if it has less than 0.25% across the entire surface. This is a minuscule amount, and even this has the potential to leach into the water that passes through that plumbing fixture.

What Are the Health Risks?

Lead is dangerous for any group, but children and infants are at the most risk of behavioral and developmental problems. Even low levels of lead can cause cognitive issues, memory loss, and other harmful effects. Pregnant women and unborn children are at risk of other health problems, including premature birth, low birth weight, miscarriages, and even stillbirths. Healthy adults can be prone to negative health consequences, too, including anemia, high blood pressure, kidney issues, cardiovascular problems, and even reproductive health issues.

What is the Solution?

Laboratory water testing can identify the presence of lead and other harmful contaminants. It’s important to understand the makeup of your water to make an informed decision on the water filtration systems required to remove the contaminants. If lead is present and you have an older home, it’s a good idea to get the plumbing system checked for lead pipes and fixtures. To remove the lead from the water supply, you will need a water treatment system that uses reverse osmosis (RO) and/or granular activated carbon (GAC) filtration.

If you want to learn more about removing lead and other contaminants from your water supply, contact your local water treatment specialist today.

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