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What You Need to Know About Lead in Water

The Flint, Michigan, crisis has sent shockwaves nationwide. For Ohio residents, the discovery of a lead-contaminated water supply just one state away has hit too close to home. It’s hard not to wonder, “how does lead get in drinking water?” Most of us are safe, but some communities are at risk of lead exposure from their drinking water. Lead is a toxic metal that can cause serious health problems, especially in young children and pregnant women. We must demand action from our elected officials to ensure our water is safe to drink. We all have a right to clean, healthy water, and we cannot afford to take this issue lightly.

Problems Lead in Water Can Cause

Even low levels of lead can contaminate water and is dangerous, especially for children, as there is no safe level of exposure. Lead is also known to bioaccumulate in the body, which can build up over time and cause various health problems. The following list is just a few ways lead in drinking water affects humans:

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

This is not an exhaustive list of what lead can do to the body, but it highlights the severe nature of lead exposure. Protecting your and your family’s health is essential if you suspect your water may be contaminated with lead.

lead water pipes laying in a open trench of ground
photo credit: canva.com

How Does Lead Get In Drinking Water

Lead enters our water supply from the infrastructure of a building or home. Homes built before 1986 and commercial buildings are more likely to have lead-soldered pipes that can corrode over time and affect water quality. Corroded pipes release lead into the water. Therefore, it’s essential to be aware of the age and materials of your plumbing. Don’t hesitate to take the necessary action to ensure your water is safe. Your health depends on it.

The nature of the water itself also plays a role in lead contamination. Highly acidic and low mineral content water is more likely to erode the materials inside of pipes. Water suppliers have started treating their source water with additives that reduce acidity to address this concern. However, it’s important to check with your local water supplier to ensure your water is safe for consumption.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, in compliance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, has developed an excellent resource to help Ohio residents identify the source of lead and other contaminants in their water. You can find an up-to-date, interactive map highlighting concerns on their website. It also provides detailed information about potential sources of contamination. In addition, the map includes recommendations for affected residents to help them protect themselves and their families. This valuable tool is a great way to stay informed about the quality of your drinking water.

filling clear glass with water with some splashes on a reflective counter and a light blue background
photo credit: canva.com

Despite efforts by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, there are 62 advisories in Ohio related to drinking water safety. Almost half of these advisories recommend using a water filtration system or a bottled water delivery service instead of the tap. Eight areas in Ohio have been reported to have lead contamination, which is a serious concern for public health. It’s important to stay informed about these issues and take appropriate measures to protect yourself and your family, including testing your water and using a certified filter. 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

To raise awareness about lead contamination in Ohio, it’s important to note that several counties have reported lead alerts within their borders. However, this does not necessarily mean the entire county is affected. In many cases, the source of the lead is located within individual homes or buildings. Nonetheless, the following counties have reported lead alerts:

  • Cuyahoga County
  • Franklin County
  • Hamilton County
  • Lucas County
  • Mahoning County
  • Montgomery County
  • Summit County

If you live in one of these counties, protecting yourself and your family from lead exposure is important. This may include testing your water, using a certified filter, and taking other precautions to reduce your risk of exposure.

person drinking water from a clear glass while gazing off into the distance
photo credit: canva.com

How to Reduce Lead in Your Drinking Water

If you’re concerned about lead, there are several steps you can take to ensure that your water is safe to drink. First, ask your water utility provider for their current water quality report. This report will provide information about any contaminants in the water supply, including lead. It’s also a good idea to have your water tested, especially if your structure was built before 1986.

Aside from testing, you can take some simple steps to reduce exposure to lead in water. For example, flushing your pipes before drinking can help to remove any lead that may have accumulated in the plumbing. Boiling water is ineffective in removing lead. Instead, you should use a water filtration system or bottled water delivery service. Water filters effectively remove lead and other contaminants, and many different types of filters are available on the market. Bottled water is also a good choice, as it is not exposed to lead-soldered infrastructure. While there is no fail-proof method for removing lead from water, these steps can help to ease your worry and protect your health.

Get Your Drinking Water from Distillata

Distillata proudly serves the Northeast Ohio area and offers water delivery services and water filtration systems. Eliminate any worry with an in-home or office water service! 

Watch this video to see how our delivery service works:

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