Lead in the Water: Detrimental to Your Health

You may have heard that too much lead in your body can create health problems, but do you know what health problems? Since the United States government passed the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974, municipalities and home builders have worked hard to keep tap water safe for all residents.

Get to Know the EPA Rules for Water

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has worked hard to establish strict standards for drinking water all over the country. There are strict building codes regarding the type of pipes and fixtures plumbers can use. But, since there are plenty of buildings that predate the Safe Drinking Water Act, people are exposed to lead in water, paint, and dust.

What Does Lead Do to the Human Body

Lead creates problems in the body because it builds up each time a body is exposed to it. Lead builds up by breathing in dust and by drinking water with lead in it. When levels of lead get too high, the body reacts in unwanted ways.

Young children and babies can have the most damaging effects. Since lead and other heavy metals attack the nervous system, young children and babies can have irreversible developmental delays like learning disabilities. Young children can suffer from weight loss due to loss of appetite. They do not grow normally.

Adults and children can be affected by stomach problems caused by lead, too. Excessive levels of lead causes stomach problems like constipation and vomiting. These problems can lead to dehydration, so caregivers can treat dehydration and they use chelation therapy to remove lead from the blood.

Adults can suffer from high blood pressure, brain damage, and abnormalities in the reproductive system. These problems cannot be fixed. High blood pressure can cause problems in the extremities, brain damage can cause memory and mood issues, and reproductive problems can result in miscarriages.

Lead Linked to Legionnaires’ Disease

In Flint, at least ten people have died from Legionnaires’ disease. This is a bacterial flu-like disease that can be passed through the water supply. With the troubles in the Flint water, many believe it is the water supply that is creating the outbreak. So, it is quite important that municipal water sources and home plumbing is checked on a regular basis.

Considerations for Replacing Lead Pipes

Instead of suffering from the debilitating problems caused by lead, if you live in a home built before 1984, contact us at Scott English Plumbing to evaluate your pipes and fixtures. We can replace the old pipes with new lead-free pipes. We can even work on the pipes that come from the water supply to your home. We can also talk to you about water filtration systems.

The process can be costly, but it is better than watching family members suffer from problems that could be avoided. It is easy to see if your pipes need to be replaced. Simply look for corrosion, flaking, or staining on walls or pipes. Water can be discolored if there are problems with the pipes. Our expert plumbers know what to look for when examining older pipes.

Before new pipes are installed, homeowners need to ponder some considerations. The first is how much wall needs to be opened to access pipes. The second consideration is what type of pipe to use as a replacement, either copper or polyethylene. Copper can be costly.

Polyethylene (PEX) pipes are less expensive and since the product is flexible, walls do not always need to be removed during installation. Some families will only replace the pipes they can see, then they replace the rest when they do other remodeling work. Another consideration involves recycling older pipes to help reduce cost, but someone will have to bring the pipes to a recycling facility.