Meet the Contaminant: Lead, part two
Naturally-occurring, and very dangerous
For more information, see our first Meet the Contaminant: Lead
Lead is in the news a lot these days. High levels detected in the water in Flint, Michigan has people concerned and upset in Michigan and beyond. Lead has long been a concern for us at Aquasana. All of our drinking water filters remove this heavy metal from water. To help you understand why we remove it from water, we thought you should know what it is, and why it is dangerous.
Lead is a chemical element, considered a heavy metal, with symbol Pb (from Latin: plumbum) and atomic number 82. Lead is used in building construction, lead-acid batteries, and bullets.
If ingested, lead is poisonous to animals and humans, damaging internal organs, the nervous system and causing brain disorders. Lead is a neurotoxin that accumulates both in soft tissues and the bones. Lead poisoning has been documented since ancient Rome, ancient Greece, and ancient China.
If your home was built before 1978, there is a good chance it has lead-based paint. In 1978, the federal government banned consumer uses of lead-containing paint, but some states banned it even earlier. Lead from paint, including lead-contaminated dust, is one of the most common causes of lead poisoning.
Lead is naturally-occurring, and it can be found in high concentrations in some areas. Your yard, soil, and playgrounds can become contaminated when exterior lead-based paint from houses or buildings flakes or peels and gets into the soil. Soil may also be contaminated from past use of leaded gasoline in cars or from industrial sources.
To avoid tracking contaminated soil into your house, put doormats outside and inside all entryways, and remove your shoes before entering.
Lead gets into your drinking water through corrosion of your pipes and fixtures. Water with high levels of acidity and low mineral content is particularly aggressive at pulling led from old pipes and fixtures. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, however, new homes are also at risk. If new fixtures are made of brass or chrome-plated brass faucets, they may contain lead. If they do, lead can enter into the water, especially if the water is hot. The risk of lead is also dependent on how long the water stays in the plumbing materials and the presence of protective scales or coatings inside the plumbing materials. Consequently, even if your water is lead free when it leaves the treatment facility, it can have lead in it when it comes out of your tap.
The only way to truly know your water is free of lead is to invest in a water filter tested and certified to remove lead. All of Aquasana’s drinking water filters are NSF certified to remove lead, and many have an indicator light so you know when it’s time to change your filter.
Lead is a serious chemical element and one that you should not ingest.
To learn more about this and other water related topics, please visit www.aquasana.com.