Water is essential for life, but not all water sources are created equal. The dangers of lead contamination in tap water have become increasingly apparent in recent years, with the Flint water crisis as a stark reminder. In this blog, we’ll explore how lead enters tap water, the risks it poses, and how it’s important to invest in a trustworthy RO purification system to safeguard your family from this harmful contaminant.
The Flint Water Crisis: A Wake-Up Call
Naturally, water contains minimal lead. However, when untreated water damages lead pipes, the toxic element can infiltrate the water supply. The Flint crisis occurred when untreated water from the Flint River flowed through lead pipes, picking up lead and contaminating the city’s water supply. This tragedy underscored the importance of proper water treatment and raised awareness of lead’s dangers in drinking water.
It’s important to note that the lead did not originate in the Flint River itself. The longer water stands in a pipe, the more chances there are for lead to dissolve in it. When the water faucet is first turned on in the morning or hasn’t been used for some time, lead levels will be highest. This situation put the residents of Flint at significant risk for lead exposure and its associated health problems.
The Hazards of Lead Pipes
While main water lines, typically made of iron or steel, are mostly safe, millions of lead service lines still connect older homes to water mains, particularly in the Northeast and Midwest. When these pipes are exposed to corrosive water or water sits inside them for extended periods, lead may be released, contaminating tap water and putting families at risk for numerous health problems.
Lead exposure can cause serious health issues, especially in children, such as developmental delays, learning difficulties, and behavioral problems. In adults, lead exposure can lead to high blood pressure, kidney damage, and reproductive issues. The longer a person is exposed to lead, the more severe the consequences.
Why Lead Is Toxic
According to the EPA, lead’s toxicity is due to its persistence and bioaccumulation in the body, where it is stored in bones alongside calcium. Lead exposure can damage the brain, cardiovascular system, kidneys, and reproductive system. It can also harm soft tissues and organs, interfere with blood formation, and even be fatal in high enough doses.
Young children and infants are particularly vulnerable to lead, as its physical and behavioral effects occur at lower exposure levels than in adults. In children, low levels of exposure can result in central and peripheral nervous system damage, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing, and impaired blood cell formation and function.
While it is safe to shower or bathe in water that may contain lead, as human skin cannot absorb lead from water, consuming lead-contaminated water is hazardous. Pregnant women are at particular risk, as lead stored in bones is released during pregnancy and can harm the fetus by causing reduced growth and premature birth.
Clean and Safe Water for Your Family
How can you protect you and family from the dangerous of lead found in tap water? The EPA has a great step-by-step guide on how people can check their water quality for lead and other harmful contaminants.
The Flint water crisis highlighted the importance of proper water treatment and the dangers of lead contamination in tap water. By understanding the risks associated with lead exposure and investing in a reliable water purification system like AquaTru, you can take control of your family’s health and well-being.