In 1991, the EPA passed the Lead and Copper rule, which set limits on the amount of lead and copper permitted in drinking water. Tragically, investigations reveal that those limits are poorly enforced and often exceeded.
Even if your public water system is free of lead, that’s not a guarantee your drinking water is safe. Many homes, particularly those built before 1986, have pipes and fixtures that contain lead that can leach into tap water.
Lead is so toxic no amount is considered ‘safe.’ In adults, consumption has been linked to higher risk of cancer, kidney damage, stroke and hypertension. The dangers are far more significant for children, who suffer lasting physical and behavioral effects from much lower levels of exposure, including damage to the child’s nervous system, lower IQ, shorter stature, hearing impairment, and anemia.
Lead can also be passed from a pregnant mother to her fetus, leading to reduced growth and premature birth.
Steps to consider if you find lead in your tap water:
- Use bottled water instead of tap.
- Flush your tap by letting the water run.
- Use cold water – hot water increases the likelihood of leaching.
- Install a filtration system.
- Replace lead plumbing and fixtures.