Lead is a common metal found in the environment that is not safe for human consumption. Lead in drinking water should be taken seriously because the EPA has set the maximum level of consumption at ZERO.
The main sources of lead exposure are:
- Lead-based paint
- Lead-contaminated dust or soil
- Plumbing materials, such as brass faucets, fittings, and valves (including those advertised as “lead-free”)
Other sources of lead exposure:
- Certain types of pottery
- Brass fixtures
You can also be exposed to lead in certain workplaces and hobbies. Lead is found in some toys, some playground equipment, and some children’s metal jewelry.
How does lead get in drinking water?
Lead enters water primarily through plumbing materials, fixtures, and fittings. When water is in contact for several hours with pipes (or service lines) or plumbing and fixtures that contains lead, the lead may enter drinking water. Homes built before 1988 are more likely to have plumbing containing lead. EPA estimates that 10 -20% of a person’s potential exposure to lead may come from drinking water. Infants who consume mostly formula mixed with lead-containing water can receive 40 -60% of their exposure to lead from drinking water. (City of Rathdrum)
How much lead is OK to consume?
The short answer is ZERO. There is no safe level of lead.
The EPA has set the maximum contaminant level goal for lead in drinking water at ZERO because lead can be harmful to human health even at low exposure levels. Because no safe blood level has been identified for young children, all sources of lead exposure for children should be controlled or eliminated.
Exposure to lead may cause health problems ranging from stomach distress to brain damage. Lead is a toxic metal that is persistent in the environment and can accumulate in the body over time. Risk will vary depending on the individual, the chemical conditions of the water, and the amount consumed.
For example, infants who drink formula prepared with lead-contaminated tap water may be at a higher risk of exposure because of the large volume of water they consume relative to their body size. Bathing and showering should be safe for you and your children because human skin does not absorb lead in water. (CDC)
WaterDaddy offers filtration systems that can reduce lead in your water up to 99.3%.
To ensure your home’s water is lead free, and to learn more, please call 509-381-7818 or schedule your FREE in-home water test here.
City of Rathdrum. “Important Lead Education Information.” Public Works Department. Dec. 2 2019. https://www.rathdrum.org/vertical/sites/%7BB217A04D-FA9D-403A-9D25-24962991B1D9%7D/uploads/Important_Lead_Education_Info_12-2-19.pdf Accessed 12/5/19
United States Environmental Protection Agency. “Lead and Copper Rule.” Drinking Water Requirements for States and Public Water Systems. Jan. 20 2017 https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/lead-and-copper-rule Accessed Dec. 5 2019
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Lead in Drinking Water.” National Center for Environmental Health, Division of Environmental Health Science and Practice. Jul. 30 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/prevention/sources/water.htm Accessed Dec. 5 2019.