Are you concerned about lead levels present in your tap water? Have you ever wondered what are the safe levels of lead in water?. Our goal in this comprehensive article is to take you through the signs of lead in tap water, safe level of lead in water ppm, Best water filters for lead removal, and How to make your home water lead-free.
Lets dive in…
When water is pumped from the local public water utility, after being successfully treated, it does not have lead in it.
However, lead always leach into the water through rusty metal pipes that are delivering it to our homes, schools, and business.
In some cases, lead exposure happens when water comes into contact with plumbing fixtures, more commonly in many schools and Hospitals, since most buildings were built long ago.
Is Lead in Your Water and What Level Is Safe?
Lead mostly enters into our drinking water, primarily through plumbing materials.
When one consumes lead in water knowingly or unknowingly, over time, the concentration builds up, resulting into lead poisoning.
This leads to health problems like abdominal, joint and muscle pains, brain damage, among others.
What are The Rules on Lead?
Since 1991, the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) has established the rule that states all drinking water systems (school, hospitals, apartments, home, etc.), lead concentration should not exceed an action level of 15 ppm of all the taps sampled, and not more than 10 percent.
If the lead in water level exceeded the set standard of 15 ppm, the system should make sure the public is well informed about the steps and action that should be taken.
To always protect their health, they should replace the infected lead pipes under their control, so that the public can be safe and eliminate the lead exposure.
The (EPA) Action Limit For Lead in Drinking Water
The standard accepted action safe level for Lead in water ppm is 15 ppb.
Signs of Lead in Tap Water
The Environmental Protection Agency confirmed that 10 percent to 20 percent of our daily exposure with lead is as a result of contaminated water.
Children under the age of 10 years can get between 40 percent and 60 percent of lead exposure by drinking their daily baby formula mixed with contaminated water.
Lead water always enters your home through plumbing materials like pipes, faucets, and fittings.
This occurs when your plumbing system becomes corroded and release lead into the water, or when low mineral content, or high acid water sits, on pipes for many hours.
Lead Exposure Risks
Health Effects of Lead in Drinking Water
The health effects of lead poisoning are dangerous as it damages the whole function of the human body system, by negatively affecting the nervous system, heart, brain damage, and kidney failure.
You should also be aware that pregnant mothers and children are vulnerable and at a higher health risk due to the Health Effects of Lead in Drinking Water.
Most homes in the U.S. that were built in the 1990s, still contain lead service pipes in use and lead can quickly end up in their drinking water.
Always be mindful on the long-term and short-term on these lead poisoning health effects.
Best Water Filter for Lead Removal
The most current and easiest method of removing lead from your tap water is by using a water filter. But first, it is advisable to identify the source and contamination level.
Below are some of the filtration methods that are best and affordable for lead removal:
Reverse Osmosis:- This filtration method is considered the best method available to remove lead for up to 99.9% from your drinking water.
Distillation:- This filtration method filters up to 99.9% of contaminants, and provides pure water. On the downside, this filtration method, is very slow and uses a lot of electricity during the process.
Activated Carbon Filtration:- Majority of all activated carbon filters units are designed to remove lead up to 99 percent. On the negative side of this filtration method, is that the filters regularly get chocked up quickly, thereby losing the capability of removing lead.
1. Home Master Under-sink RO Water Filter System (
Home master system Produce highly pure water, from its seven-stage filtration system, by removing up to 99.9% of chemicals including chlorine, chloramine and other contaminants.
Has a built-in permeate pump, that minimizes water wastage, which in the long run saves you money by reducing the water bill. Has a quick and painless filter changing system, which lasts a year or every 2000 gallons. The downside is that, its quite expensive, but it is worth the money.
2. ISpring High Capacity RO Drinking Water Filtration System (RCC7)
This High capacity reverse osmosis filtration system, is a mounted under-sink unit that filters and softened water, by removing up to 99.9% of over 1,000 contaminants, including sodium, calcium, bacteria, giardia, and viruses.
Capable of reducing lead content by up to 99%, and has very low maintenance costs. Another significant benefit is the leak detector, that alerts you whenever moistures build up underneath the filter system.
With a pure to wastewater ratio of 1:3, this unit is very affordable, and the system will always deliver safe, clean and good-tasting water every time you turn on the faucet.
3. APEC RO-90 Ultra Safe RO Drinking Water Filter Water System
This Apec Water System is designed, engineered and assembled in the United States of America; the RO-90 is very durable system in the reverse osmosis industry, that always guarantees water safety.
What I like about this APEC Water System is that, its Certified and Tasted by WQA to remove up to 99 percent of contaminants including lead, chlorine, arsenic, fluoride, heavy metal, virus, bacteria, and 1000+ contaminants.
Below are seven health effects outcomes of lead exposure from drinking water (and other sources)
1. Prenatal Effects
Mother and her fetus might be affected by low levels of lead exposure.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) said, “Lead can easily cross the placenta to the brain of the fetus”.
These health effects during pregnancy may cause gestational hypertension, miscarriage, premature birth, and low birth weight. All pregnant mothers are advised not to drink tap water from lead pipes.
Pica is an unusual condition that makes people crave of items that are not meant to be edible like a paint chip, dust, chalk, hair, and hardened clay soil.
Children that show symptoms of lead poisoning tend to eat paint chips, dust, and chalkboard.
3. Lowered IQ in Children
Overexposure of lead through contaminated water, is known to produce a spectrum of damages across multiples body systems.
In young children, lead affect the growth and development, thereby causing Lowered IQ in Children’s brain, leading to a lower (IQ) intelligence quotient.
Also, Lead exposure can affect the behavior, intelligence, and attention life span of a child: note the World Health Organization.
4. A trigger of Autoimmune Diseases
Studies have shown heavy metals like lead exposure have been associated with an increase and development of multiple autoimmune diseases which include multiple sclerosis, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid, type 1-diabetes and fibromyalgia.
This Autoimmune disease occurs when healthy cells are attacked by the immune system.
5. Mood Swing Disorders
Lead exposure can have a negative mental health impact for both adults and children; an adult may suffer from depression and anxiety.
Children may experience temper tantrum, lashing out more and become more aggressive.
6. Loss of Appetite
Overexposure to lead particularly in children is related to loss of appetite and weight loss; they too can experience abdominal pain, vomiting, fatigue, and tiredness.
However, all these health-related problems might be associated with multiple conditions, so it’s advisable to consult your doctor first.
World Health Organization has explained that lead poisoning can even lead to Death; children are more likely to suffer from it; it can cause coma or convulsions in children.
And those children who survive from lead poisoning may have a long term effect of behavioral disorders and mental retardation.
What Causes Lead in Water
Lead is a dense, dark greyish metal that is naturally found in the earth’s crust; human activities like burning fossil fuel, mining, and manufacturing has caused lead to become more widespread.
Primary Source of a high level of lead in water is corrosion of the plumbing system in our homestead.
It leaches into the water through corrosion by wearing or dissolving away of the inner side of the pipe, fixtures, and faucets by a chemical reaction between water and metal.
Other sources of lead exposure:
Soil: Lead particles from paint and leaded gasoline that settle on the land, tend to last for decades, and still, Lead contamination is a significant problem around tarmac roads and walls of the building that were built in the 1990s.
Pottery: Ceramic glazers and porcelain contain a high level of lead that can easily leach into food servings.
Household dust. Paint chip from the wall normally peel off, and mix with dust so when you’re sweeping the floor it’s very easy to inhale contaminated dust.
Mexican candy: These candies that are made in Mexico do contain lead from an ingredient called Tamarind.
Toys: Toys that are made from China tend to have a high level of lead contamination.
Occupations: People that work in mining, pipe fitting, auto repair, painting, battery manufacturing, and construction are exposed to a high level of lead and are more likely to bring it home on their clothes.
Lead Exposure Prevention
Simple D-I-Y that can help protect you and your family from lead poisoning:
1. Always clean dusty surfaces and wall peelings with a wet mop or a damp cloth.
2. Remove shoes that are oil based. This will prevent lead contaminants from getting inside your house.
3. Wash hands and toys with soap after an outdoor play with
children to reduce the hand-to-mouth transfer of contaminated soil or dust.
4. If you live in a house that has old plumbing system (lead pipes or fittings), it is advisable to run cold water for a minute before using.
5. Always keep your house well-maintained, by checking for fix problems and paint peelings, never remove paint peeling with a knife or sand it with sandpaper, this can generate dust that contains a high level of lead.
How to Make Your Home Lead-Free
Below are essential tips on how to care for a lead-free home.
1. Always do regular inspection for peeling, chipping or deteriorating paint.
If you note an area that is peeling, wet the area first, then sand it to remove all the loose paint.
2. Regularly check for windows, stairways, and doors that are painted for any sign of paint deterioration, you can carefully remove loosely paint with a damp paper towel.
3. Always do a weekly mopping on smooth floors to control dust.
How to Protect Yourself and Children from Lead Poisoning:
4. Hot water contains more lead concentrates than cold water. Always use cold water when cooking and making baby formula.
5. Get enough iron, calcium, and zinc in your daily diet.
6. Eat green vegetables, peanut butter, red pepper and orange, this food helps to prevent lead absorption.
7. Always let water from the tap to run for a minute to flush out corrosion before drinking it.
8. Use available filtration systems like water pitcher which are capable of filtering 99% of lead and other heavy metals like mercury.
9 have your drinking water tested for lead.
Does Bottled Water Contain Traces of Lead?
Bottled water is monitored and regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration as a product.
The allowed level for lead in bottled water is 5ppb which is lower than 15ppb accepted by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Furthermore, Food and Drug Administration prohibits bottled water company from using any food contact materials like pipes, pumps, tanks, fittings, bottling equipment, containers, etc. that might render or adulterate the bottled water unsafe.