Lead poisoning causes nervous system damage, bone aches, tooth aches, stunted growth, and can cause liver and kidney damage. Children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to the effects of lead exposure. Therefore, for homes with children or pregnant women and with water lead levels exceeding EPA’s action level of 15 ppb, CDC recommends using bottled water or water from a filtration system that has been certified by an independent testing organization to reduce or eliminate lead for cooking, drinking, and baby formula preparation. Because most bottled water does not contain fluoride, a fluoride supplement may be necessary.
High levels of lead in tap water can cause health effects if the lead in the water enters the bloodstream and causes an elevated blood lead level. According the to Centers for Disease Control (CDC), most studies show that exposure to lead-contaminated water alone would not be likely to elevate blood lead levels in most adults, even exposure to water with a lead content close to the EPA action level for lead of 15 parts per billion (ppb). Risk will vary, however, depending on the individual, the circumstances, and the amount of water consumed. For example, infants who drink formula prepared with lead-contaminated water may be at a higher risk because of the large volume of water they consume relative to their body size.
Lead can be found in some metal water taps, interior water pipes, or pipes connecting a house to the main water pipe in the street. Lead found in tap water usually comes from the corrosion of older fixtures or from the solder that connects pipes. When water sits in leaded pipes for several hours, lead can leach into the water supply.
How to Test For Lead in Water- Current News
In real and recent news, in October 2015, A public health emergency has been declared in cash-strapped Flint, Michigan, after tests showed the city’s water supply is causing elevated levels of lead in children, following months of complaints about the smell and taste. The problems arose after the city broke away from Detroit’s water system in 2014 and began taking water from the Flint River to save money, pending the completion of a new regional pipeline in 2016.
Tests that were taken showed lead content well in excess of acceptable levels of 15 parts per billion. Other tests showed the number of Flint children with elevated blood-lead levels — 5 micrograms per deciliter or more — jumped from 2.1% in the 20 months prior to Sept. 15, 2013, to 4% between Jan. 1 and Sept. 15 this year. Certain ZIP codes showed even higher jumps in the elevated levels, from 2.5% of the children tested to 6.3%. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/11/22/records-mich-gov-office-loop-flint-drinking-water-decision/76222312/
As you can see these real-life situations happen all the time. Whether in the case of a flood, or the recent events in Flint, Michigan, it is very important to test your water for lead.
The only way to know whether your tap water contains lead is to have it tested. You cannot see, taste, or smell lead in drinking water. The first and most important thing to know on how to test for lead in water is making sure your water is analyzed by a certified laboratory, not someone giving a free analysis to sell you some type of treatment systems.
There are various ways on how to test for lead in water, but the easiest and most affordable way is to purchase a test kit that you can do yourself. The Environmental Innovative Technologies’ Lead in Water Testing Kit comes with simple instructions on how to test for lead in water, all supplies needed to take the test, prepaid shipping to the lab, and most importantly, certified lab analysis.