Newspapers and online news outlets around the country love the thrill of informing people that their drinking water may contain unsafe levels of lead and spilling the beans on the dangers of consuming too much lead, but we feel too many of the stories put out there lack something: Advice for people w/ affected water!
Should you wake up one day to alarmist stories about lead in YOUR drinking water, hopefully the following pieces of advice will help.
- Lead and other heavy metals leach out of plumbing, fixtures, etc. and accumulate in stagnant water so before you get a glass of water, put water in a pan for cooking, or make a bottle of baby formula… Run the water for a few minutes to flush out any lead that may have entered the water. For those concerned about the environmental impact(s) of running water for a few minutes before use, collect the water and use it to water the plants (just not in your vegetable garden!).
- Unlike commonly found forms of bacteria in drinking water which become inactive (aka: die) when water gets boiled, lead does NOT go away and, in fact, boiling water that contains lead or any other metal actually results in higher concentrations in the water after it gets boiled.
- When using water for consumption purposes (i.e. drinking, cooking, making baby bottles, watering pets, etc.), always use the cold water option. Colder water absorbs metals at a slower rate than warm or hot water.
- Most faucets these days come equipped with aerators (some people refer to them as ‘strainers’) and these devices can accumulate lead and other unwanted contaminants over time. We suggest that you periodically remove the aerators and clean them.
- If the source of lead in water cannot get removed (i.e. ripping out your home’s plumbing and replacing it all) or the source comes from older supply lines belonging to the city, then installing a water treatment system (water filter) may make sense. Definitely check to make sure whatever system you choose has certifications for the removal and reduction of lead and any other unwanted drinking water contaminants in your water supply. Not all filters remove all contaminants!