Do You Have Lead in Your Water? What to Do
For several decades, the risks of lead poisoning have been a concern for homeowners and government health officials alike. While the most well-known risk for exposure to lead comes from swallowing or inhaling lead-based paint chips or dust, there could also be lead in your water. And lead in your drinking water is not something to take lightly.
Risks of Lead Exposure
Lead is a naturally-occurring metal that is still commonly found in household plumbing materials as well as in service lines that bring water to your house. Exposure to lead in your water in concentrations above the acceptable safe levels can lead to a number of health problems.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposure to lead in children, including babies and toddlers, can lead to delays in physical or mental development or even attention span deficiencies. Adults may see an increase in blood pressure and develop kidney problems.
Where Lead Occurs
It’s very uncommon for water to contain lead at its source, but you may find lead in your water due to the materials used when your plumbing was installed. The EPA says that homes built prior to 1986 are most likely to have lead pipes, lead soldering or even lead fixtures.
Many people do not know that they have lead piping in their home or in the lines leading from the county tap. They also don’t know that they may have interior fixtures that contribute to lead in the water. The most common are brass or chrome-plated fixtures or faucets. Fixtures plated with such materials can leach substantial amounts of lead into your water, most particularly when you run hot water through them.
If you suspect that you may have lead in your water, there are some things you can do. The Cobb County Water System, which serves the Marietta area, suggests running your water for 30 seconds to flush the tap each time you use it. The agency also suggests that you have your water tested if you suspect that lead may be present. If lead is present, it is important that you call a plumbing professional to explore repiping your home.