Lead is present in the Earth’s crust as a naturally occurring element. According to the EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even the smallest amount of lead in a child’s blood can be unsafe. Considering how harmful lead is to human health, it is essential to minimize exposure to it as much as possible. The first port of call is the water we drink – our drinking water must be lead-free.
Lead is a heavy, bluish-gray metal. It exists in its natural state in the Earth’s crust due to its low melting point. Lead doesn’t exist alone as a metal. Instead, it exists as lead compounds, combined with two other elements or more. Lead for industrial use is obtained from mined ores and artificial sources like recycled batteries and scrap metal.
Lead is a cumulative toxicant. Its effects on the human body systems are harmful and even more profound in young children. When lead finds its way into the body, it targets the bones, kidneys, liver, and brain. It may also accumulate gradually in the bones and teeth.
Lead alloys are products of lead’s combination with other metals. These include cable covers, fishing sinkers, shot and ammunition, weights, storage batteries, and pipes. Lead is mainly used to manufacture the storage batteries in cars and other vehicles.
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Lead in Tap Water
Lead often finds its way into water through lead service lines linking the municipal water line with the home pipes. Asides from the lead service lines, lead contamination in tap water may occur from galvanized iron pipes, chrome-plated brass or pure brass faucets, and plumbing fixtures soldered with lead. Lead-lined tanks in some drinking water fountains also cause lead contamination in water. House plumbing fixtures made before 1986 are more likely to contain residuals of lead.
Effects of Lead in Drinking Water
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the maximum contaminant level goal for lead is zero. This is a pointer to the fact that even low levels of lead can be harmful.
The ancient Romans documented the harmful effects of lead. These documentations have served as a basis for medical experts today to declare lead unsafe at every level. The degree of harm is even higher in young children, infants, and fetuses, considering their bodies and brains are undergoing development and are more prone to lead absorbance than adults.
Lead exposure at high levels can be fatal. The first signs of lead poisoning in young children include abdominal pain, vomiting, fatigue, and seizures. Symptoms in adults include joint and muscle aches, reproductive health decline, concentration or memory decline, and high blood pressure.
Removing Lead from Water
There are a few techniques to make your water lead-free. These include activated carbon filtration, distillation, and reverse osmosis. Lead in water can also be removed by detecting pipes and fixtures with lead deposits in your home and replacing them. The most efficient defense system against lead is a RO water filtration system. It protects you and your family from the potential contamination caused by the passage of water through the lead pipes before it gets to your home.
Drinking water with high amounts of lead can negatively affect your health. Such water can raise the lead level in your blood. It puts vital body organs like kidneys, brain, and liver at risk of damage by interfering with the production of red blood cells that feed all body parts with oxygen. Keep your family safe by testing your water supply regularly and installing an efficient filtration system to remove lead in your drinking water.