How to Reduce Lead in Your Drinking Water

Lead has been a hot new topic, but not for the Keystone Clean Water Team.  We have been talking about and educating the public,  private well users, and city water users about lead and drinking water quality for over 30 years.  Here are some suggestions to reduce lead in your drinking water.

  1. Flush your pipes before using the water for drinking – most of the lead in the water is not coming from the water source, but from the piping in your home or the main water line.  Lead may be also coming some of the fixtures or some of the scale that as built up over time on the inside of the pipes.    The longer the water has been sitting in the piping – the higher the lead content – “SO flush it out”.    (How Long?  – about 2 minutes or until it becomes noticeably cold).    Hint- “Most of the time the source is your water pipes, NOT the main.”
  2. Use ONLY Cold Water for Consumption – this includes making soup, tea, coffee, etc.   Hot water likely contains even more lead.  Also – watch the cookware ! Glazed pottery and some glazing used tableware and cookware can contain lead and other metals, like aluminum.  (Watch imported and traditional Goods and replicas !)
  3. Get the Water Tested – Ask the Utility to Test, Contact a Testing Laboratory, or conduct an Informational Water Test from a reliable source, but get the facts and do a first flush and flushed test for copper, lead, and zinc.   If you think there is a problem and you have a private water system or well, you may want a more comprehensive test to determine the corrosion and/or scale forming potential of your water.
  4. If you have slime coating or odors – Get a bacterial test that includes total coliform, standard plate count, E. coli.,  and slime forming bacteria.

Hints You May Have A Lead Problem

  1. Your home has faucets or fitting made of brass that contains some lead.
  2. Your home has lead pipes.
  3. Your home has copper pipes with lead solder and the home is older than 1989, the water is soft, and the water is used intermittently.
  4. You have pin hole leak, blue-green stains, or blue water.
  5. Your home was built before 1930s.
  6. Piping installed prior to 1986 may have solder and flux that was high in lead – How High?  At one time as high as 50 % lead.   In 1986, the term lead-free applies to solders and flux that are 0.2 % lead and pipes and fittings must be 8 % or less lead.  This did not go into effect until about 1988.

More on Corrosion and More on Lead.   Indoor testing of paint and sources for lead.

Blood lead levels PA cities.

Please do not forget about environmental lead exposure and note foreign products may have more lead- old paint, chipping paint, glazed pottery, some cosmetics, lipstick,  some crayons, kids toys (especially imported),   imported foods in cans, work exposure to lead, lead batteries, imported candles, lead contaminated soils.   (Sources- NY State; FDA)

Please note – This is one reason to Buy – Made in America !

We have been asked for a recommendation on a faucet mounted or counter mounted treatment system – Based on a review – it appears the NSF Certified – Paragon P3200 would be a suitable Countertop Treatment Unit (replace filter cartridge annually)- Use Promo Code A27AC.

Lead Drinking Water Crisis in Flint Michigan KDF

Lead- Metals- Corrosive Water
Water Quality Association Addresses Drinking Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan

Offers facts and tips about treating for lead contamination

Lisle, Illinois -The Water Quality Association (WQA), an Illinois-based not-for-profit organization, is offering informational resources to help with the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Flint residents are expected to receive federal aid to help ensure their access to safe drinking water. On January 16, 2016, President Obama signed an Emergency Declaration for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate all disaster- relief efforts. The declaration states that, “This emergency assistance is to provide water, water filters, water filter cartridges, water test kits, and other necessary related items for a period of no more than 90 days.”

Lead (Pb) has been identified as the waterborne contaminant of primary concern for Flint’s residents. To minimize the presence of contaminants such as lead, which may enter the water after it has left a municipal treatment facility, WQA recommends water treatment equipment that has been certified by an ANSI (American National Standards Institute)-accredited certification body. Such accredited entities include WQA’s Gold Seal Product Certification Program, NSF International and Underwriters Laboratory. Flint residents are encouraged to visit www.wqa.org to search for the names of products certified by WQA for lead reduction. Click here to download a technical fact sheet about Lead (Pb).

It is important consumers follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance. WQA also lists of water treatment professionals across the U.S. on its website at www.wqa.org.
Additional notes
1. Recommend that we concentrate on the following – get kids and adults blood tested.
2. Get first flush testing completed for lead and alternative water source for drinking.
3. Install point of use treatment in the interim.
4. Develop a plan to remove the lead service lines.
5. Develop a plan to install corrosion control.
6. Lawsuits should wait until the problem is addressed.

More on lead in drinking water- Corrosion 

Check out the Know Your H20? App

Water Treatment Systems – Must Likely need a neutralizing filter and a filter that has KDF 85 or KDF 55 media.

 

More – 2/4/2016

Water Quality Association Addresses Frequently Asked Questions about Lead in Water

Lisle, Illinois -The Water Quality Association (WQA), an Illinois-based not-for-profit organization, is offering informational resources to help differentiate fact from fiction regarding the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan. The Association has compiled answers to several of the most common questions, while addressing some widespread misconceptions Flint residents may have about lead (Pb) in drinking water.

What are potential health effects from lead?

Lead poisoning often displays no outward symptoms; however, irritability, weight loss, vomiting, constipation, and stomach pain are possible signs to look for. Young children and pregnant women are at the greatest risk, even from short-term exposure. Reduced cognitive development and neurobehavioral deficits are associated with blood levels less than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood in children.[1] Therefore, there is no safe level for lead to be present in the blood of children.[2] Individuals will adsorb more lead if they have poor nutrition than those with better diets.

Can a Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) meter be used to detect lead in drinking water?

No. There have been some misconceptions around TDS Meters. These meters cannot measure lead specifically; they detect the conductivity directly related to the concentration of combined total dissolved solids such as minerals, salts and metals. The typical sample of tap water in the U.S. contains approximately 350 parts per million (ppm) of TDS[3], which, as a whole does not on its own indicate a health concern and in many cases is used as a means to enhance taste of water.  Lead concentration is found 1000 times lower at the parts per billion (ppb) level, and is too small to be detected without sophisticated instrumentation. Moreover, because TDS meters don’t measure individual ions, lead cannot be detected on its own.

Where can I go to get my water tested?

Water testing should be done be a certified testing laboratory.[4] WQA strongly recommends water testing be conducted at each point of use in accordance with appropriate sampling procedures. The water should be checked after a period of disuse before a specific water treatment product is selected. Water conditions can change, so the water should be tested both before a treatment product has been installed and at regular intervals following installation. Studies have shown the reported levels of lead found in some Flint, MI water results are higher than conditions under which the manufacturer set the replacement recommendations for filters in published manuals. A list of certified labs in Michigan can be found here.

How do I maintain a filter once it is installed?

Always follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions and contact the manufacturer to confirm usage and capacity. To ensure the manufacturer can provide the most accurate recommendations, have test results for lead and iron on hand for review.

Where do I find a product certified for lead reduction?

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited entities offering product certification include: WQA’s Product Certification Program, NSF International, International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, and Underwriters Laboratory. All of these certifiers have product listings. To find products certified by WQA for lead reduction, click here. Contact information for local professionals and manufacturers of certified products can also be found wqa.org.