What Are the Effects of Lead in Drinking Water?

Lead is a toxic heavy metal, which should tell you right away that it has no business being in your drinking water. Unfortunately, for decades the harmful effects of this chemical substance were not fully understood, and many people were exposed to lead through common household products like paint, gasoline, and lead pipes.

The use of lead in piping and other products was mostly discontinued in the 1980s, but homes built before may still have lead pipes, faucets, and fixtures. In fact, as many as 10 million homes in the US still have drinking water delivered through lead service pipes. This could spell trouble for you and your family.

 

How Does Lead Get Into My Drinking Water?

Lead from service pipes will find its way into the water through a process called corrosion. Corrosion is simply wearing away or dissolving of the metal in plumbing. Corrosion is more likely to happen when the water traveling through lead pipes has high acidity and/or low mineral content.

Your exposure to lead will vary based on the service lines that go to your home and the water treatment processes already used by your local water utility. Of course, the fear many Americans share after learning about the Flint, Michigan lead contamination crisis is simple: they could be drinking water contaminated with lead and not realize it.

Lead is a heavy metal that is toxic for humans even at low levels. Because of this, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set the maximum contaminant level for lead in drinking water at zero. Lead can persist in your body and build up over time, causing significant harm even at low levels.

 

What Are the Health Effects of Drinking Water Contaminated With Lead?

Lead causes immediate and serious health problems when it’s in your drinking water. Children under age 6, infants, and pregnant women are most at risk for developing ongoing health problems or even dying from exposure to lead.

Low levels of lead exposure can lead to the following health problems for children:

  • Hearing loss
  • Lower IQ scores
  • Behavioral problems
  • Slowed bone growth
  • Nervous system damage
  • Development of learning disabilities

The potential health effects of lead for adults are severe as well. No one should consider themselves resistant to long-term damage from consuming lead. The following health problems are documented in adults that have had lead in their drinking water:

  • Higher blood pressure
  • Risk of developing hypertension
  • Nerve damage and disorders
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Reduced kidney function
  • Increased risk of tremors
  • Fertility issues for men and women

Pregnant women who are exposed to trace levels of lead in their drinking water can experience reduced fetal growth, which will cause permanent damage to the fetus and even result in a miscarriage. The safest course of action is to eliminate the possibility of drinking lead in your tap water.

 

How Can I Get Lead Out of My Drinking Water?

If you want to know how to remove lead from your drinking water the process is simple: just install a home water filter system. To target heavy metals like lead install a Heavy Metals 3 Stage Whole House Water Filter, which removes over 80 contaminants like lead, iron, and chlorine at rates over 99% so you can get back to enjoying simply pure water.

With five stages of state-of-the-art water filtration, a Reverse Osmosis Home System is also a great choice to rid your family of the health effects of lead. RO systems feature an easy install and remove up to 99% of contaminants including lead, chlorine, and fluoride. Make the process simple by chatting with a member of our customer service team to decide which system is right for your home.