Lead Testing in Home Water Supply

The trouble with the water in Flint, Michigan has homeowners and consumers thinking about the content of their water. While the majority of community water supplies are safe, it is never a bad idea to test for lead.

How Much Lead is Too Much?

When it comes to lead exposure, a little is too much. When it comes to drinking water, usually less than 20% of any type of lead contamination comes from water. This is a huge problem for parents of infants who drink tap water with their mixed baby formula.

Lead is a dangerous substance to people because it accumulates over time. Lead cannot be absorbed in the bath or shower; it is only toxic when consumed. If it is in the water you drink, brush your teeth with, or cook with, you are certain to develop toxic levels in your body. In Flint, Michigan, lead has been present in the water supply for over one year. Children in Flint have lead levels in their bodies that are much higher than the national average.

What Creates Lead Problems with City Water?

While the source of the water, the highly contaminated Flint River is one problem, the old pipes in the older homes of Flint are the other. The Flint River water has corrosive material in it, which further corrodes the old lead pipes in the homes, which send more and more lead out of the faucets. Homes built prior to 1986 often have lead pipes and Flint has many older homes. Even newer homes could have pipes that have a small percentage of lead in them. The pipes in the Flint water system could also have lead.

Check Out Your Water

Yes, Southern California is rather far from Flint, but it is always a good time to test your home’s water for lead. No matter what municipality you live in, you should be able to get a copy of the contaminants in the local water supply. The municipal water supply should be tested regularly. The EPA provides information on its website, too.

Lead levels should be under 15 parts per billion, and ideally, the levels should be much lower than that. In some Flint households, levels over 150 parts per billion have been found. In contrast, the city of Detroit has only 2 parts per billion in its water supply. If a test shows a high level, then it is important to ask your municipality what types of pipes and fittings are used by the city.

How to Find a Lead Test?

If you want to test the water coming from your pipes, you can call your water supplier and ask them to come in and conduct a test. Plumbers can also do it. You will have to wait for the answer. If you are worried about lead in your water, you should always turn on the cold water before you turn on the hot water. Let the cold water run for a few minutes, then you can use it. Lead will not be removed from water by boiling it.

What About Bottled Water?

Many people will use bottled water in lieu of tap water, but many bottled water suppliers put tap water into fancy bottles. If you really want to avoid lead in your water, then it is important to buy only water that has been tested repeatedly. NSF International is an organization that tests bottled water and water filters for lead and other contaminants. Many filters do not remove lead, so be sure you read the details on filter labels and learn about the products you use in your home.

Water contaminated by lead is especially dangerous to young children, but lead enters the body through respiration, too. If you have an older home, paint can have lead in it. This means that dust can have dangerous levels of lead, too.

If you want to know if your water is contaminated by lead or not, don’t hesitate to contact Scott English Plumbing at 949-462-9773 or 714-987-9801.