It has been more than 40 years since lead was banned from being used in common household items. Yet, to this day, lead remains one of the most dangerous contaminants affecting human health. Preventing lead poisoning is now more important than ever.
There is a lot of information available online that deals with lead contamination in water. However, it is critical to understand the difference between facts and what’s is perceived as truth.
Here are a few of the common myths floating around on the internet about lead in water and how you can ensure healthy and safe drinking water for your family.
Let’s get started.
Myth 1: Boiling Water Removes Lead
This myth mostly stemmed from the fact that boiling water is effective against killing germs and bacteria. Most authorities recognize the effectiveness of boiling water to kill disease-causing microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, and parasites when a clean water supply is unavailable.
The risk of lead in tap water can be improved by using only cold water. Contrary to this popular belief, hot water corrodes lead and dissolves it more easily into water.
Also, the longer the water sits in lead pipes, the higher the risk of lead leaching into the water.
It is highly recommended to run the water for two minutes before using it if the water has been left idle in the pipes for more than six hours.
Myth 2: Only Older Homes Are Affected
Lead water pipes have been an integral part of the infrastructure for years before it was banned. There is no doubt that older homes are at a higher risk of lead-contaminated water, however, new homes cannot be affected is a total myth.
Pipes in new homes use soldering and other plumbing materials that may be made of or contain a percentage of lead. Plumbing fixtures could have as much as eight per cent lead-by-weight and still be legally labelled lead-free.
Therefore, lead-contaminated water could be a problem for any facility that uses public water supply. This includes new homes, schools, office buildings, restaurants and other public places where people use water.
Myth 3: Lead in Water Only Affects A Certain Area
There has been widespread media coverage regarding lead contamination in drinking water in Flint Michigan. However, lead in public water supplies is more common than what is reported and covered by the media.
There are over 75 million homes in the United States built before 1980, which means there is a high chance of them containing some lead plumbing. Furthermore, The Washington Post reported 274 water utilities serving over 11 million consumers exceeded the EPA’s lead concentration standard over several years.
This included some major US cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, and New York.
Myth 4: If the City Provides a Water Report, the Water is Clean
A city’s water report is sent to share information about the quality of the water supply. Each community water supplier is required by the Environment Protection Agency to provide a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) every year. The purpose of CCR is to make the public aware of contaminant levels and violations. The transparency can provide false confidence in the quality of water.
In reality, lead contamination in water occurs from corrosion of older plumbing fixtures or from the solder that connects pipes. Lead levels may vary in homes depending on the age of the infrastructure and pipework.
Even if a city’s water report reveals no lead, there could still be some lead in your home’s water supply due to old metal pipes.
Myth 5: Bottled Water is a Safe Way to Avoid Drinking Lead in Water
Many people rely on bottled water to avoid drinking tap water mainly due to its taste and other contaminants that may be present.
Although, it has been reported in recent years that nearly half of commercially packaged bottled water is sourced from tap water and often without any filtration process. This means bottled water could well having some levels of lead contamination.
Furthermore, the damaging effects of single-use plastic on the environment cannot be ignored. Every year, millions of single-use plastic bottles end up filling landfills or ocean beds impacting marine life.
The best way to remove lead from drinking water is to use a specialist water filter such as a reverse osmosis system which eliminates heavy metals such as lead and arsenic from water. Not only this, it can effectively remove chlorine, fluoride, bad taste and other contaminants from water delivering only great tasting water.
This brings us to the last myth on this list.
Myth 6: All Water Filters Remove Lead
It is great that you use a water filter rather than relying on bottled water. However, all water filters are not created equal. Each type of filtration process comes with its own set of benefits. There is not a single water filter that can remove everything.
Water filter pitchers are designed to remove chlorine from water but fail to remove lead and other heavy metals.
This is why a multi-stage filter such as an RO system is your best bet to remove most contaminants from water including lead.
Published by Tarundeep Singh