Causes and Effects of Lead in Drinking Water
- 01 Nov, 2021
It is no secret that city water is not pure. In fact, city water is often the most harmful ingested contaminant that you probably encounter. That’s saying something—since every year, fewer and fewer of us get sick from city water. However, even with the overall quality of water rising throughout the nation, some areas still suffer through major contamination problems. Lead is one of the most feared contaminants many cities have tried (and failed) to remove from their systems. In this article, we will look at the cause and effects that lead has on drinking water. As such, this article will address the following areas:
- Most common causes of lead in water
- Common signs and symptoms of lead in the diet
- How to find out if your tap water is contaminated
- Wells and lead exposure
- Best ways to rid lead from your home’s water supply
Common Causes of Lead in City Water
While it may be hard to believe, lead will usually come from the fixtures and pipes that transport the water to your house. As such, some of the most common sources of lead in drinking water include lead pipes, faucets, and other associated plumbing fixtures. While lead is not typically used in newer housing construction, lead used to be a primary material that many would use to transport water to their house. As such, the prevalence of lead poisoning typically occurs in older houses. Even so, sometimes lead can still leech into the water system through corrosion—which could explain how newer houses still may experience higher rates of lead toxicity in the water. In these cases, it could be several factors that cause the corrosion, including but not limited to:
- The acidity or alkaline nature of the water
- The types of minerals in the water and the concentration of those minerals
- The water temperature
- The amount of wear on the pipes
- The length of time water spends in the pipes
- The presence of protective coatings on the pipes
Common Signs and Symptoms of Lead Poisoning
Initially, it can be somewhat hard to detect lead poisoning short of a blood test. This is because the levels of lead in the body must reach a threshold of concentration to produce symptoms. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of lead poisoning include:
- Developmental delay
- Learning difficulties
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Hearing loss
- Ingestion of non-foods (also known as pica)
How To Know If Your Tap Water Is Contaminated
Luckily, there are a few easy ways to tell whether your tap water is contaminated with lead. While you cannot see, taste, or even smell lead in drinking water, looking at the mechanisms surrounding your water is a great place to start. As such, the first step many take is to look at their pipes and fixtures for any indication that they were made with lead.
Next, you can also ask your water service provider if a lead service line provides water to your home. If you find that you do have one of these lead service lines, there often are programs to assist in removing the toxic lead line. However, keep in mind that lead levels may rise for a brief period after work has been done on the line.
Another more surefire method is to get your water tested. While many public water systems will regularly test their water for contaminants, it still does not mean that your water is lead-free. Luckily, there are many laboratories dedicated to testing water for contaminants.
Wells and Lead Exposure
With wells, it is often a gamble on the water quality extracted out of the ground. Many contaminants present depend on what sort of industrial activity you have in the area. As such, even if you feel that your well water is completely safe for you and your family, it is still best practice to test your water anyway to be sure. Even if you are not hooked up to the city water system, there is still a chance that you may have lead toxicity in the ground. This is the primary reason why well water should always be filtered by systems that take out both the heavy metals and the other biological contaminants.
Best Ways To Rid Lead From Your Water Supply
While the prospect of having lead in your drinking water may seem scary, the fact is that it is a pretty easy problem to solve. Most water filters are extremely capable at filtering out contaminants such as lead, copper, and magnesium. However, the best of these are reverse osmosis filters. These filters use semi-permeable membranes to move the water molecules through the filter osmotically. As such, it leaves behind all the particulate, only providing clean and great-tasting water. The best part is that these reverse osmosis filters are modeled as whole house filters or reverse osmosis water faucets. This means you can have the choice of a cheaper or more expensive system—both of which provide the same level of pure water!
We hope you have enjoyed our article on the causes and effects of lead in drinking water. When it comes to water filtration, the only question you must ask yourself is what sort of system to get. Because there are so many amazing water filtration systems on the market, it can be hard to choose one. This is why it is important to ensure you have all the information you need before choosing one. Having this information will allow you to be happy with your choice in the long term—saving you money and providing great health benefits for you. If you need help selecting a water filter, make sure you reach out to Premier H2O! We have an amazing staff that’s ready to help you make the decision on which water filter is best for you!