The Dangers of Lead in Drinking Water

Jan 26 09:25 2010 Blanca Somers Print This Article

The Environmental Protection Agency has stated categorically, "Lead is the number-one environmental health threat to our children." Years ago parents were shocked to learn that the paint used in their children's rooms was actually poisonous because it was lead based. But even when that was outlawed, it didn't eliminate the problem of lead poisoning.

"Lead is the number-one environmental health threat to our children." So says the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States. Those of us who have been around for a while remember the lead paint scare. After lead paint was outlawed,Guest Posting it took a while to remove or paint over the toxic covering. But that didn't by any means end the ways lead can get into our bodies.

There are five heavy metals that pose a health risk when ingested: lead, cadmium, mercury, aluminum, and beryllium. The first three are the most dangerous. None of the five has any known health benefit. Lead gets into our systems through newsprint, paint, pencils, pesticides, rain water, pvc containers, tin cans with lead solder, toothpastes, metal polish, and several other means.

Lead gets into our systems through, among other things, our drinking water. Old houses might still be using lead pipes and wells might have lead casing or storage tanks. Most city water systems have some lead in the water anyway. When I checked the water report from my own city, I found it to be within acceptable limits in every area. For lead, this was 2.5 parts per billion, well below the acceptable maximum of 12 ppb. However, the last time the city water was tested for lead was two years before this report was issued and three years before he read it. What is it now?

To add concern to the possibility of lead poisoning in city water, consider this. The Washington Post reported that, upon examining 65 of the 3,000 largest utilities, they found that cities such as Providence, R.I., New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, and Portland, Maine, are "manipulating the results of tests used to detect lead in water, violating federal law and putting millions of Americans at risk." Further, in excess of 250 major cities currently exceed the EPA's lead standards. Many of them have been "deceptive, or even fraudulent, in their reporting of the problems."

"Each year in the U.S., lead in drinking water contributes to 480,000 cases of learning disorders in children and 560,000 cases of hypertension in adult males." Though we can't get rid of lead in our water systems entirely, we can do as much as possible to minimize the problem.

The effect of lead in the human body is frightening. Some of the problems, in alphabetical order are myelopathy (spinal cord pathology), nausea, nephritis, nightmares, numbness, Parkinson's disease, peripheral neuropathies, psychosis, psychomotor dysfunction, pyorrhea, renal dysfunction, restlessness, retardation, schizophrenia, seizures, sterility, stillbirths, sudden infant death syndrome, tingling, tooth decay, vertigo, and unintentional weight loss.

The list drones on and on. In summary, lead's leading areas of concern are kidney problems and nervous system damage. As noted above, these are not the only problems but they are certainly problem enough.

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Blanca  Somers
Blanca Somers

Of course you are wondering, what do we do about it? How can we protect our children from the crippling effects of lead poisoning? Besides the obvious precautions of checking your house for lead paint and your water system for lead pipes, another precaution is effective- filter your drinking and cooking water. A good activated carbon filter like the Black Berkey or their shower filter will remove 95% of the lead that is about to be drunk. That one simple precaution can certainly go a long way in giving a parent peace of mind.

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