What is Lead and Why Is It In My Water?
Lead is a soft, metallic element with a dull grey appearance and is used in construction, bullets, some types of batteries, and radiation shields. Lead is a neurotoxin and is poisonous to humans and animals when it builds up in bones and tissues.
Lead can be found in the soil & atmosphere, which can be naturally occurring or from pollution, can seep into groundwater. Acidic water and water systems that use chloramines to disinfect drinking water can erode pipes and pluming fixtures which may contain lead.
Lead in drinking water was discovered as a major problem around the Washington DC area in 2004. It was found that DC’s water was 83 times higher than the acceptable limit of lead. After more investigations it was found that the CDC was misreporting lead levels in water supplies all over the country, which led to changes in the EPA’s policies.
What are the Health Effects of Lead Exposure?
Lead has been mined and used by humans for thousands of years and was only recently discovered in the last few decades. Lead can accumulate in the body’s soft tissue and bones and cause poisoning, disrupt body processes, and is toxic to many internal organs. Symptoms of lead poisoning are irritability, confusion, headaches, abdominal pain and comas, seizures & even death in extreme cases.
"There is no known safe level of exposure to lead."
Infants and small children are at greater risk due to being constantly developing and higher absorption from a smaller body mass. Lead is particularly damaging to the nervous system, which can cause learning and behavior disorders. Pregnant mothers with high blood lead content may cause poisoning in infants, and are more likely to have a low birth weight or premature birth.
Reduction Of Lead In Drinking Water Act
In 2011 Congress enacted the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act’s section regarding the use and introduction into commerce of lead pipes, plumbing fittings or fixtures, solder and flux. The Act established a prospective effective date of January 4, 2014, which provided a three year timeframe for affected parties to transition to the new requirements. All of the metal fixtures and fittings sold by H2O Distributors are compliant with this act.
Lead Removal From Drinking Water
Boiling your water will not remove lead from it. Most systems with thin film composite membranes will reduce lead levels in drinking water, like reverse osmosis, under sink, and most Everpure systems.
Reverse Osmosis Water Filters Everpure Systems and Cartridges Aries Filter Works Pentek Inline Filters KDF/GAC Filters
NSF 53, 58 or
NSF/ANSI Standard 53: Drinking Water Treatment Units – Health Effects
Overview: Standard 53 addresses point-of-use (POU) and point-of-entry (POE) systems designed to reduce specific health-related contaminants, such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, lead, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether), that may be present in public or private drinking water.
NSF/ANSI Standard 58: Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Treatment Systems
Overview: This standard was developed for point-of-use (POU) reverse osmosis (RO) treatment systems. These systems typically consist of a pre-filter, RO membrane, and post-filter. Standard 58 includes contaminant reduction claims commonly treated using RO, including fluoride, hexavalent and trivalent chromium, total dissolved solids, nitrates, etc. that may be present in public or private drinking water.
NSF/ANSI Standard 62: Drinking Water Distillation Systems
Overview: Standard 62 covers distillation systems designed to reduce specific contaminants, including total arsenic, chromium, mercury, nitrate/nitrite, and microorganisms from public and private water supplies.
Sources of Information on Lead
- Wikipedia – Lead
- EPA – Lead in Drinking Water
- CDC – Lead in Drinking Water
- Wikipedia – Lead Contamination in Washington, DC
The foregoing information was compiled from the the links listed above.
Hydraulic fracturing (sometimes referred to as fracking or hydrofracking) is a relatively new form of natural gas extraction.
The fluids used in the fracking process flow back to the surface, often entering the water table or polluting the drilling area, and sometimes improper disposal of waste water from the wells.
As our technology advances, so do new forms of pollution and contaminants that effect our environment and our health.
Read more about drinking water contaminants and their health effects.
Chlorine has long been recognized as an oxidative agent, meaning that it not only kills the germs in the water supply; it will damage any living tissue with which it comes in contact. And your skin, like the rest of your organs, is living tissue. But that’s not the only problem.
Since the discovery of its health benefits in the mid-1940’s, fluoride is often added to the public water supplies of industrialized countries in order to reduce the populations tooth decay, which is especially effective in low income communities, where good dental hygiene may be too costly.
Chromium-6 was found in the drinking water supply of the southern California town of Hinkley and brought to national attention by Erin Brockovich.
The EPA is reviewing effects of Chromium-6 after a recent report brought to light dangerous levels in a number of major US cities.
Giardia is a flagellated protozoan parasite that colonizes and reproduces in the small intestines of humans and other animals, which can cause giardiasis.
Symptoms of Giardiasis usually show after 3 to 4 days, and include gastrointestinal and constitutional problems.
Cryptosporidiosis is a disease caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium parvum.
Since a outbreak in 1993 in Wisconson, new attention has been focused on determining and reducing the risk for Cryptosporidiosis from community and municipal water supplies.
What is ultraviolet light? Do I need to filter the water before the UV process? How exactly can light kill organisms?
Visit our ‘How Ultraviolet Purification Works‘ guide to find out how it works.
The typical water softener is a mechanical appliance that’s plumbed into your home’s water supply system. All water softeners use the same operating principle: They trade the minerals for something else, in most cases sodium. The process is called ion exchange. More…
Step by step instructions on installing replacement cartridges and sanitizing filter housings. It is highly recommended that you clean and sanitize your system once a year.
Step by step instructions on making a connection with Twist and Lock fittings. Twist-Lock fittings allow you to connect and disconnect tubing without the need of tools.
Step by step instructions on making a connection with SharkBite Push-To-Connect fittings. SharkBite fittings allow you to connect and disconnect pipes without the need of using PVC glue or welding copper.
A micron is a unit of measurement for how small of particles a filter will catch. The lower the micron size, the tinier the ‘holes’ in the filter cartridge are that allows water to pass through, ranging from 0.1 absolute to 150 microns.
Use our Pore Size Efficiency Guide to find out what micron size to use.
Pleated sediment cartridges remove dirt, rust and sediment from water while providing an increased surface area and longer life. Pleated filters down to 5 microns are washable and reusable.
Use our Pleated Sediment Cartridge Comparison to find the filter cartridge you need.
When brewing beer with tap or bottled water, chlorine and chloramine present in the water can combine with malt phenols in the wort to create a compound called chlorophenol, which can give the beer a medicinal taste.
View our Filtered Water for Home Beer Brewing guide.
Bottled water requires a lot of resources to manufacture and ship, and costs a lot more than reverse osmosis water.
Use our Bottled Water Cost Calculator to find out how much of an impact you have on the environment.