Lead In Drinking Water And How To Effectively Remove It

Everyone is susceptible to the detrimental effects of lead exposure in drinking water, which has been linked to a wide range of illnesses and health problems. Children and expectant mothers are especially vulnerable to this lead related health issues.

Until 1986, lead was widely applied in plumbing materials and water service lines for residential and commercial applications. Before 1975, the National Plumbing Code allowed lead to be used in pipes and solder. It didn't stop lead from being used in solder until 1986.

All provinces and territories in the United States are mandated to refer to the National Plumbing Code as a starting point in developing their own plumbing standards. Regulations governing the use of lead in plumbing materials were implemented gradually across the country.

This article will break down the health issues caused by lead in our drinking water and offer tips for the most effective and affordable way to remove lead from drinking water

What Is Lead In Plumbing?

Lead is a naturally occurring chemical that has the potential to cause substantial harm to growing kids, pregnant women, and even adults. Lead is a poisonous metal that can be found in natural deposits. It may be found in a variety of environments, including the air, soil, dust, food, and water.

Health Effect Lead iIn Drinking Water

It is certain that there is no safe level of lead exposure for humans. When it comes to youngsters, the toxins are especially harmful since even small doses can impair brain development and intellectual abilities.

Congress prohibited the use of lead pipes in 1986, but allowed those that were already in place to stay in place. It is believed that 15 to 22 million Americans still cook with and drink tap water that enters their houses through lead pipes known as "service lines," three decades after the water was first introduced.

Because lead is a hazardous element that may be damaging to human health even at low exposure levels, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a zero maximum contamination level objective for lead in drinking water. As a long-lasting substance, lead has the chance to build up in the body over time.

Adult Health Exposure from Drinking Lead Water

Among the dangers connected with drinking low amounts of lead in polluted water are higher rates of hypertension, along with other unfavorable cardiovascular consequences, such as decreased renal function, infertility, and the chance of developing neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's and dementia.

Drinking tap water that has been poisoned with lead is hazardous to individuals of all ages. This can have long-term, even life-threatening consequences for people of all ages, even if they're pregnant or have young children.

Lead poisoning is more deadly for adults, despite the fact that children constitute the majority of those at risk. Adults may experience the following signs and symptoms:

  1. Experience frequent high blood pressure.

  2. Constant joint and muscle discomfort

  3. Have difficulties recalling information or concentrating.

  4. Headache and abdominal discomfort

  5. Frequent mood swing.

  6. Reduced sperm count as well as faulty sperm production

  7. Pregnancy complications, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, or preterm birth,

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Children Health Exposure from Drinking Lead Water

While lead exposure is harmful to anybody, children and fetuses are particularly vulnerable since they are significantly more impacted by what an adult would consider a low amount. Even low-level lead exposure has been shown to impact behavior and IQ in growing infants.

Children are particularly vulnerable to harmful effects on their neurological systems, learning impairments, height, hearing, iron deficiency, and blood cell formation and function. Lead exposure throughout childhood is also connected with later-life neurodegenerative illness.

There is no known safe threshold for lead exposure for children. Lead can have a negative effect on a child's health, and it has been linked to many well-known negative effects, like the following:

  1. Brain and nerve system damage

  2. Growth and development have slowed.

  3. Learning and behavioral difficulties

  4. Hearing and speech difficulties

The Implications Of A High Level Of Lead In Drinking Water

Extremely high lead levels can result in convulsions, comas, and death. Even at moderate levels of exposure, a kid can have delays, have a lower IQ, be hyperactive, have learning impairments, behavioral issues, impaired hearing, and stunted growth.

A 10 g/dL rise throughout the preschool years is projected to result in an average IQ loss of 2.6 points. While this may appear to be a little variation, it is related to significant changes in the percentage of children categorized as intellectually gifted or intellectually challenged, as the IQ distribution shifts.

Many of these consequences are permanent. The fact that lead poisoning symptoms are not always visible adds to the difficulty. A youngster may exhibit no symptoms at all when exposed to low levels of lead.

Many lead-poisoned youngsters seem and behave normally. Occasionally, the imprecise symptoms are confused with those of other conditions.

Pregnant Woman Health Exposure from Drinking Lead Water

In our bodies, lead may build up over time and get encapsulated in our bones, where it is kept with calcium. During pregnancy, lead is released from the mother's bones in the form of maternal calcium, which is then used to aid in the formation of the fetus's bones.

This is especially true if a woman does not get adequate amounts of calcium through her diet. Lead can potentially pass through the placental barrier, exposing the fetus to the dangers of lead exposure.

This can have a lot of bad effects on both the mother and her growing fetus, like:

  1. It causes a stunt in the fetus's development.

  1. It also causes preterm birth.

How Exactly Can You Remove Lead From Drinking Water

The most effective and affordable way to remove lead from drinking water is the use of the Reverse Osmosis System Drinking water contains two types of lead:

  • Soluble lead (lead that has been dissolved).

  • Particulate lead (lead in the form of tiny particles, about the size of dust specks).

As recommended by the EPA and CDC, the best way to remove lead from drinking water is to use a reverse osmosis system or a whole-house filter designed to remove lead from drinking water.

1. Using Reverse Osmosis To Remove Lead From Drinking Water

As mentioned earlier, reverse osmosis systems are the most effective and affordable way to remove lead from drinking water. Check out the EPA's recommendations below for Reverse Osmosis Systems you can buy today.


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2. Whole House Filtration System

The second method, and yet affordable, of removing lead from your drinking water is the use of a whole house filtration system. This technology is primarily designed to remove cysts and lead from your tap water, so that you will get pure and clean water for drinking.


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How Does Lead Get Into Your Drinking Water?

On the journey to your faucet, lead gets taken up by the water. Lead water heaters are among the most prevalent causes of lead service lines—the pipes that link residences to the city's water main—as well as lead pipes in the household.

The majority of cities in the United States have water sources where lead is not found in significant quantities after treatment. This is a problem that occurs more frequently in older homes than it does in newer homes.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, lead enters drinking water in the United States in the following ways:

  • Due to the fact that lead is uncommon among drinking water pollutants in that it seldom exists naturally in water sources such as rivers and lakes, lead is a concern.

  • To a large extent, lead gets into your drinking water as a result of the corrosion (or wearing away) of lead-containing elements in the water supply and domestic plumbing.

Congressional legislation passed in 1986 prohibited the use of lead solder containing more than 0.2 percent lead and set a limit of 8.0 percent lead content for all plumbing components, including faucets, pipelines, and other plumbing fixtures.

Does Boiling Water Remove Lead?

No, lead cannot be removed from water by heating or boiling the water. When water is boiled, a small amount of water evaporates, which results in the lead content of the water rising slightly. The effective and affordable way to remove lead from your body is through the use of a Reverse Osmosis System.

For situations when it is neither possible nor cost-effective to eliminate the source of the lead, cleaning the water system before using the water for drinking or cooking may be a viable alternative.

It is recommended to flush the system each time a certain faucet has not been used for a long time (about 6 or more hours) by running the water for about 1-2 minutes, or until the water is the coldest it will get.

Before using the water for drinking or cooking, make sure to flush each faucet independently. You may use the water that has been flushed from the faucet to water plants, wash dishes or clothes, or clean your home with it.

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How To Remove Lead From Home Drinking Water

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend two methods for removing lead from drinking water:

  • Reverse osmosis and (Highly recommended)

  • Distillation (Not very effective)

Reverse Osmosis Method

This is a simple and cost-effective method of protecting your family's drinking water by removing pollutants such as lead from the water. Reverse osmosis is capable of removing 99 percent of lead from water.

Distillation Method

This is a time-consuming procedure that consumes a significant amount of energy from a heat source, making it a suboptimal choice.

During the Reverse Osmosis water treatment process, the water is forced through a series of filters by the pressure of the domestic water supply.

The reverse osmosis membrane in a water treatment system will filter out impurities, including lead, and will remove them from the water. Water that has undergone reverse osmosis (RO) filtering is free of contaminants, leaving you with purified, safe drinking water.

Aside from being a very successful purification process, reverse osmosis has a very low production cost (just pennies per gallon), requires no energy, and is simple to clean and keep in working order.

How Does Lead Get Into Your Home Drinking Water?

Lead enters into our drinking water from supply pipes that have corroded. The presence of lead in our drinking water may be traced back to the corrosion of the pipes that transport water to our homes, schools, and daycare facilities. Water that is extremely acidic or has low mineral content is extremely damaging to plumbing fixtures and pipelines.

Although most pipes nowadays are constructed of copper, the potential for lead contamination in drinking water is substantial since many homes built before 1986 still have lead solder connecting their copper pipes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, kids in 4 million homes in the United States are drinking water that has a lot of lead in it every day.

Can Lead In Water Make You Sick?

Unfortunately, yes. It is possible that lead intake will result in seizures, comas, and even death in rare situations. Over time, lead builds up in our bodies, where it is deposited in our bones with calcium.

Despite the fact that children are at greater risk of experiencing the consequences of lead poisoning, exposure to lead from drinking polluted water can result in sickness in adults as well. While it is possible to have lead poisoning if you are experiencing these symptoms, it is not always the case.

Adults may have the following symptoms:

  • abdomen discomfort due to elevated blood pressure.

  • discomfort in joints and muscles due to constipation

  • Extreme discomfort, numbness, or tingling in the extremities.

  • Pregnancy-related headaches, miscarriage or premature delivery, exhaustion, and memory loss

If you live in a home with lead pipes and you or your children are suffering from any of the symptoms listed above, you should consult your doctor.

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What are the negative effects of lead in water?

While lead is hazardous to everyone, it is more dangerous to fetuses, babies, and young children because their brains and bodies are still growing and more quickly absorb lead than those of older children and adults. Adults, on the other hand, are at risk as well, notably of cardiovascular disease, as a result of lead exposure. This injury gets more severe as levels rise.

The following are the negative effects of lead in water:

  • It leads to cardiovascular effects such as elevated blood pressure, and hypertension prevalence.

  • It reduces the proper functioning of the kidney.

  • Obstetrical complications (in both men and women)

What are the effects of lead poisoning in adults?

Symptoms of lead poisoning in adults might be difficult to detect at first, but they can become more severe with time. The effects of lead poisoning in adult include:

  • Depression,

  • Nausea,

  • Diarrhea,

  • Constipation,

  • Muscular soreness.

The ramifications of other early symptoms of lead poisoning in adults include malaise, weariness, a reduction in libido, and sleep disturbances, among other things.

What Are The Effects Of Leading Poisoning In Children?

When children are exposed to lead, it has the potential to have major repercussions for their health. When a child is exposed to too much lead, his or her brain and central nervous system are damaged, which can cause comas, convulsions, and even death.

Children who survive severe lead poisoning may have mental impairment and behavioral abnormalities as a result of their exposure.