It strikes as very odd that in these modern times we still come across reports of lead poisoning on a semi-regular basis, but it still happens.
This time we found a story about Milwaukee, a city that apparently has a problem with lead reaching its population via the public water supply.
Milwaukee is alarmed at the rate of occurrence of childhood lead poisoning in the city, and it is taking steps towards its possible elimination by next year.
Late last year, the city received two federal grants that came up to a total of $6.9 million to be used for programs aimed at the elimination of lead hazards as well as the increase of public awareness on the dangers of lead poisoning. The Health Department is encouraging citizens to have their children tested for the presence of lead three times before the age of three, and eligible properties can apply for assistance for lead removal.
Their concern is understandable. The North Side of Milwaukee has an average lead poisoning rate of 14.1%, which is nine times the national average. The entire city’s lead poisoning rate is 5.9%, still significantly higher than the national average – almost five times.
Aside from government-sponsored efforts, households can also actively participate in the prevention of lead poisoning in children. One easy and doable way of doing it is to ensure that water consumed in the home is lead-free.
Generally, water from reservoirs have been treated and are lead-free upon distribution, but it can still become contaminated through home service pipes and faucets. While water may not be the primary source of lead poisoning, it may contribute to an increase in lead levels in someone who already has lead exposure once ingested. Since water is a resource that households can easily control, it will be beneficial for homes to proactively ensure lead-free water intake.
There are a number of ways to ensure that the family consumes lead-free water. One way is to perform a simple task called “flushing” each morning – basically letting the tap run for about 15 to 30 seconds or until the water gets cold, to ensure that any stagnant water that may have reacted to the pipe as it sat there overnight and may contain lead is flushed out and not used.
Another way is to purchase devices such as reverse osmosis systems or distillation units. To be really safe, families can also choose to not use tap water for drinking and purchase distilled water from reliable water distributors separately. ( source )
So… What can the average person do to find out if they have a problem with lead in their drinking water? Quite simply, they could use a readily available lead in water test kit from WaterSafe, a leading manufacturer of home drinking water test kits.
In a matter of minutes a person can find out if their water contains more than 15ppb of lead, the maximum contaminant level recommended by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Testing for exposure to lead?
A person may come into contact with lead in a number of ways. It can show up in the paint used in older buildings, at one point it existed in our gasoline, and, of course, we all know it can show up in our drinking water. With that information in mind, the question quickly becomes how do we find out if we have received too much exposure to lead?
In the past a person had to go and have blood drawn to determine if they had received exposure to lead. Now, however, test kits like LeadConfirm allow people to have their saliva tested and avoid needles.
We find that a very good thing… because we hate needles!
Testing for lead and other metals?
In our experience many other metals besides lead can find their way into the water supply and these days it makes little sense for homeowners not to periodically test their water… if only to err on the side of caution.
You can find more links to metal test kits in our Water Test Kit Store.