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What You Need to Know About Lead in Water

The events in Flint, Michigan have left us all a bit shaken. Contaminated water, just one state away, simply hits too close to home. Pile on the news reports addressing lead in water and one cannot help but wonder, could there be issues with what I’m drinking?

Effects of Lead in Water

There is no determined acceptable level of lead, especially in children. Lead comes with the added danger of bioaccumulation, meaning, it will persist in your body and build up over time. The effects are numerous and range from minor symptoms to major lifelong ailments, including:

  • disruptions to the nervous system
  • cognitive disabilities
  • growth impairment
  • hearing difficulties
  • hyperactivity
  • sleep issues
  • memory loss

This, of course, is not an all-inclusive list and the existence of one is certainly not proof of exposure to lead. While there are many more symptoms, the intention of this condensed list was to express the serious nature of lead in your water.


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How Lead Gets Into Drinking Water

How does lead get into water? The source of lead in water can usually be traced back to the interior infrastructure of a given building or home. Specifically, it is more likely to occur in commercial settings or homes that were built before 1986. These homes are equipped with lead soldered pipes that are vulnerable to corrosion and the release of eroded natural elements into the water the pipe carries.

The nature of the water itself is also an important element to consider. If a given water supply is highly acidic and low in mineral content it is more likely to erode the materials inside of pipes. Water suppliers have addressed this concern by treating their source water with additives reducing its acidity.


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Luckily, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, working in accord with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, has provided an excellent resource to pinpoint the source of lead in water and other contaminants in our state. On their website, you can find an up-to-date, interactive map outlining areas of concern. In addition, they have named the contaminate and given a recommendation for affected residents.

Unfortunately, there are currently 62 advisories in Ohio and shockingly almost half of them advocate the use of a water filter or bottled water in lieu of the tap. In addition, eight areas were reported to have lead contamination. The complete list of contaminants and the number of areas affected are as follows:

  • 19 Fluoride
  • 15 Trihalomethane (an environmental pollutant, considered carcinogenic, used in solvents and refrigerants)
  • 8 Lead
  • 2 Coliform/ E Coli
  • 1 Arsenic
  • 1 Haloacetic Acid (a byproduct of chlorination)
  • 1 Nitrate
  • 1 Voluntary conservation effort
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To boost awareness, the following counties have a lead alert within their borders (keep in mind that this does not mean the entire county is affected. As we mentioned previously, the source of the lead is usually in-house):

  • Clark
  • Geauga
  • Logan
  • Madison
  • Richland
  • Stark
  • Wood

How to Reduce Lead in Your Drinking Water

If you’re asking yourself how to reduce lead in water, there are a few steps you can take to assure that your water is safe to drink.

First and foremost, contact your water utility provider for their current water quality report. Every water supplier is required to have this analysis performed yearly by a third-party lab. Next, have your own water tested, especially if your structure was built before 1986.

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Aside from testing, it is always a good idea to flush your pipes before drinking. Simply, let the cold water (never use hot water for consumption) run for a few seconds before filling your glass, pot or pitcher. Keep in mind that boiling water is not effective in the case of lead.

With all that said, if you are still unsure, use a water filter or bottled water instead. Water filters are suitable for removing lead and for that matter a myriad of other contaminants. Bottled water is not exposed to lead soldered infrastructure eliminating the concern. There is no fail-proof method but, in the case of lead water, filters or bottled water are an excellent way to ease your worry.

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Get Your Drinking Water from Distillata

Distillata proudly serves the Northeast Ohio area and offers water filter services. Eliminate any worry about your water with an in-home or office water filtration system. Looking to buy or rent a water filtration system? View our selection of water filtration units and contact us for more information.

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