The dangerous health effects of lead in water have been widely known for some time. But despite pubic caution around certain uses of lead, like in paint and gasoline, which are now virtually discontinued, many of us are still exposed to this water contaminant in daily life. One point of contact with the metal that has potential to be significantly harmful to your body, is your drinking water.
Soft in texture, this post-transitional metal is used to make malleable or ‘fusible’ alloys and pewter. Lead is also commonly found in building construction materials as well as bullets, uses which directly introduce the contaminant to our immediate environment. Coupled with waste from mining and production activities to harvest the resource, soil runoff from industrially used lead can cause contamination in both surface and groundwater sources of water. Although banned since the early 1980’s, lead alloys were once common in the use of water carrying pipes as well as plumbing fixtures. Some of these lead-containing structures may still exist in older homes and can lead to direct contamination of drinking water as the contaminant dissolves over time. Remaining pollution from lead’s other mostly retired uses, like leaded gasoline, still reside in the earth and add to water contamination as well.
Even in small amounts, lead ingestion via water has been linked to a number of detrimental health effects. Exposure to lead even in a short term may lead to lead poisoning. Common symptoms include:
Because the symptoms of lead contamination in water are so general, it is common for lead poisoning to be overlooked even if you experience these signs. Some cases are completely asymptomatic, while others experience different side effects completely. If left untreated, lead poisoning from water can lead to more severe problems, such as nerve damage, impaired hearing and sight, high blood pressure or heart disease, as well as kidney disease or general kidney damage. Ingestion of lead contaminated water is considered especially harmful for children. Children’s brains continue to develop throughout childhood and lead exposure is known to disrupt this process. Symptoms specific to children include:
Lead can even cause development problems while the fetus is developing, if ingested by the mother. With effects so significant, it is crucial to limit lead exposure in order preserve one’s health. Due to this severity, lead contamination is highly regulated by public water suppliers, who are required to purify their product to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) maximum contamination standard of .015 parts per million (ppm). Because of this strict regulation, lead-containing pipes and plumbing fixtures that carry water from the water supplier to homes are the main source of contamination in most cases. To counteract this pollution, the EPA recommends flushing your water source, or letting the faucet run,
before use. Use only cold water for consumption, as this minimizes lead’s contamination, and let water run until it reaches its coldest temperature. A variety of water filter options are approved for significant lead decontamination. To ensure that a particular filter will effectively purify lead from your drinking water, only use filters approved by the National Science Foundation (NSF), as many common models do not meet these standards. The EPA is a great resource for learning more about the health of your water. Visit their lead water information page, safe water providers, tips about getting your water tested, and more.
In order to safeguard yourself from serious waterborne problems or risks to health, consider using water filters at home or at institutions. Water filtration for all uses can easily provide protection from contaminants. It is highly recommended to adopt a convenient and affordable water filtration method to fight potentially harmful elements found in Water supply caused due to Water pollution.