Lead is a toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around homes. It is a metal found in natural deposits and is commonly used in household plumbing materials and water service lines. Lead is rarely found in source water, but enters tap water through corrosion of plumbing materials. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures and solder. However, new homes are also at risk: even legally “lead-free” plumbing may contain up to 8 percent lead. The most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures which can leach significant amounts of lead into the water, especially hot water.
The major sources of lead in drinking water is through the corrosion of household plumbing systems and through erosion of natural deposits. Lead enters the water through contact with your homes internal plumbing. Lead leaches into water through corrosion, a dissolving or wearing away of metal caused by a chemical reaction between water and your plumbing. Lead can leach into water from pipes, solder, brass fixtures and faucets, and fittings. The amount of lead in your water also depends on the types and amounts of minerals in the water, how long the water stays in the pipes, the amount of wear in the pipes and the water’s acidity and temperature.
The Effects Of Lead In Your Water
Even at low levels, lead may cause a range of health effects including behavioral problems and learning disabilities. Children six years old and under are most at risk because this is when the brain is developing. Infants and children who drink water containing lead in excess of the action level could experience delays in their physical or mental development. Children could show slight deficits in attention span and learning abilities. Adults who drink this water over many years could develop kidney problems or high blood pressure.
Lead Removal Recommendations
A simple ion exchange filter (water softener) is the most typical equipment used to remove lead in the water of your home, office or work place.