What is lead?

Lead is a chemical element with a symbol Pb (Latin name: Plumbum). It is very soft and malleable and used in a lot of applications such as building construction, lead-acid batteries, bullets and shot, weights, as part of solders, pewters, fusible alloys, and as a radiation shield.

How does Lead get in the water?

We put it there. Even though lead can be naturally occurring, in our 35 years of research whenever lead was found in drinking water – it was because we put it there. Whether it be soder joints, brass pipes or fixtures. Lead can enter drinking water when service pipes that contain lead corrode, especially where the water has high acidity or low mineral content that corrodes pipes and fixtures. The most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures with lead solder, from which significant amounts of lead can enter into the water, especially hot water.
Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures and solder. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) has reduced the maximum allowable lead content — that is, content that is considered “lead-free” — to be a weighted average of 0.25 percent calculated across the wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures and 0.2 percent for solder and flux.
Prior to 2014, the legal definition for “lead free” was plumbing fixtures with a lead content of less than 8 %. In 2014, the term was redefined to include only fixtures with a lead content of 0.25% and newly installed fixtures must use the “lead free” materials, but this did not apply to fixtures currently in use.

What is an acceptable level for lead in water?

None. Lead is a toxic metal to human health. There is no safe level for lead exposure in drinking water! Regardless of the limits imposed by state and federal environmental protection agencies, there is no such thing as “acceptable limits”.

What are the health effects caused by lead consumption?

Medical findings state that high levels of lead in human body can cause convulsions, major neurological damage, organ failure, coma and ultimately death. Moderate to low levels of exposure can cause inhibit growth, hearing loss, and learning disabilities, flu, vomiting, sleep disorder, constipation, poor appetite, cramps and fatigue. Remember, some of the effects caused by lead are not curable; it is only possible to reduce exposure to lead.

What are the signs that my water is contaminated with lead?

There may be no signs to indicate the lead contamination in water. There is no taste and color to water when it is contaminated with lead. Lead can be stored in brains, bones and kidneys and other major organs. It can accumulate in blood for months and in bones for decades. The only way to find out if your water is contaminated is to test for lead by analytical methods.

Who is most affected by lead contamination?

Infants, children, and pets are the most vulnerable and susceptible candidates for lead contamination. Children are capable of absorbing twice as much lead into their bones as adults. While, it is known that most animals drink 50% more water than humans.

Whose responsibility is it to test for lead?

When it comes to private well water, it is the responsibility of the home owner and in case of town/city, it is the responsibility of the town and the state (DEP). After all, it is the responsibility of the end user (consumer).It is sensible to test for lead in water periodically, at least twice a year (once in 6 months) to make sure of the quality of the water due to the fact that it could be induced into your water system through various factors such as plumbing and change in pH of the water (corrosiveness of water).