If municipal water supplies are possibly contaminated by pathogens, officials will declare a boil water…
Health Risks of Lead Contamination in WaterLead is a metal that, until 2014, was used in pipes and building materials. However, lead is a highly toxic heavy metal that can build up in the body over time. Young children, babies, and pregnant women are especially at risk to lead poisoning because even minimal exposure can have a significant risk on a developing fetus or child's development and health. While adults can tolerate higher exposure, even as little as 5 micrograms per deciliter can cause health problems in children, including:
- Behavior issues and hyperactivity
- Cognitive and developmental delays
- Stunted or slowed growth
- Hearing impairment
- Premature birth
How Does Lead Contaminate Well Water in Raleigh?When lead is present in water, it's not actually the groundwater in your well that is the issue. In nearly all cases where lead is found, it's caused from pipes leading from the well into the house or water pipes inside the home. Over time, pipes, fixtures, and solder containing lead corrode, causing lead to leach into the water. The biggest risk for lead exposure is in
- Homes built before 1986 which is when the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) changed the lead requirement in water pipes, fixtures, and solder to be less than 8 percent of the weighted average of the entire pipe. Homes built after 2014 were required to use pipes with less than 0.25 percent lead.
- Brass or chrome-plated fixtures which often used lead solder.
- Signs of corrosion, including frequent leaks around solder and at fixtures, orange-tinted water or stains on your sink, bathtub, and laundry (Note: lead itself is colorless and odorless in water, but stains are a sign the pipes are corroding)
- Water that has a low mineral content and/or high salt content or is either highly acidic (low pH) or highly alkaline (high pH)
How to Test Your Raleigh Well Water for LeadOne of the easiest ways you can test your home's water is with an instant lead water testing kit that's available online at Amazon or at nearly any home improvement store like Lowe's or Home Depot. When you get your home test kit, follow these steps:
- Don't run any water for at least six hours (including washing clothes, flushing the toilet, or using an outside spigot), and then get a sample from a faucet. This first sample determines if there are lead pipes in your home.
- Run your faucet for around two minutes, then collect a second sample that shows if you have a lead header pipe.
- Use a designated lead test strip included in the kit to test the water, then check the strip after the instructed time - usually between 10 and 30 minutes.
What to Do When There's Lead in Your Well WaterIf there is lead in your drinking water, it's important to take immediate action to protect yourself and your family. Simple steps include:
- Using only cold water for brushing your teeth, drinking, and cooking (hot water leaches more lead from the pipes and fixtures)
- Run water for 15-30 seconds before using
- Only use bottled water for preparing infant formula