Drinking enough water every day can help keep the doctor away - but not if you have lead in your water. As one of the most notoriously toxic chemicals on the market, lead is also one of the most silent criminals. It’s next to impossible to tell if lead is present since there are virtually no signs of it in water. It’s invisible, odorless, and even tasteless. So, what should you do about lead in your water? Here’s everything you need to know about lead in your water and how you can remove it.
How lead enters drinking water systems
The most common way drinking water is exposed to lead is through aging pipes and plumbing infrastructure. A holdover from the days when the dangers of lead were not as well known, many of the country’s pipes and fixtures still contain the chemical or contain portions of plumbing infrastructure that hasn’t been updated properly. As a result, drinking water is now the largest contributor to lead poisoning in the U.S. In total, it can contribute up to 20% of an individual’s exposure. To make matters worse, lead can contaminate water more quickly when pipes, fitting, or solder have aged to a point where they become corroded.
In general, homes built before 1986 are more likely to have plumbing components containing lead. That said, newer construction should not be excluded since federal regulations around acceptable lead levels have fluctuated over the years. Even new, “lead-free” pipes may not be doing your home any good. In fact, these special pipes may still contain up to 8% lead.
How lead in water affects your home
So, what does lead in water mean for your home and family? When it comes to lead in water, health effects are the main concern. This is especially true for children. Most often, lead poisoning is the result of lead in water. Effects can include infertility, kidney dysfunction, lower IQ, and even pregnancy complications. To reduce the health risks, considering testing your water for the presence of lead, among other contaminants.
How to detect lead in water
Since you wouldn’t be able to see, smell, or taste lead, the best and only way to rule out lead in your water is to have it tested. Contact your local Culligan Water Expert to set a time for him or her to visit your home and take a sample.
How to test for lead in water
To test for lead, your Culligan Water Expert will send a sample to our IL EPA-certified water testing lab, where they can effectively run a lead water test to evaluate any levels of lead. As soon as the test is complete, usually within three business days, your Culligan Water Expert will call you to discuss the results. Besides lead, water tests can reveal the levels of:
- Hardness - the presence of calcium and magnesium in your water.
- Total dissolved solids - the presence of calcium, potassium and sodium in your water.
- pH - the acidity of your water.
- Nitrates - the presence of nitrogen-oxygen compounds in your water.
- Chlorine - the amount of disinfectant in your water.
What to do about lead in water
If your lab results come back with any levels of lead, switch to bottled water and use it for preparing food and beverages as well as drinking. It’s not harmful to shower or wash with lead-contaminated water, but you will want to make sure you don’t consume any of it.
Removing lead in water requires the assistance of high-tech, high-efficiency systems. Luckily, your local Culligan Water Expert can help you figure out how to reduce lead in water by recommending the best filtration solutions for your home. Whether it’s an under-sink, point-of-use filtration system, or a whole home water filter, Culligan solutions will leave your water cleaner and safer than ever.