877-992-3753

Fast & Free shipping on orders over $50

Track order

Question? Contact Us Or Call Toll Free 877-992-3753

Lead

  • Lead in Food & Beverages Poses a Significant Health Risk

    Food and water are an essential requirement for health and well being, but for young children, both are a source of exposure to lead, which can lower a child's IQ and lead to behavioral problems. If we want to protect our children's health and ensure they are able to learn and develop mentally, we need to be more proactive when it comes to reducing their exposure to lead both in the environment and in the food and drinks they consume.

    A recent report released by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has revealed that many foods, particularly baby foods, contain lead and are thus an important source of exposure to this harmful contaminant.

    For the study, the EDF analyzed eleven years of data collected by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) between 2003-2013. They found lead in 20% of baby foods they sampled, and 14% of other non-baby food products sampled. Of the baby foods that contained lead, eight types had detectable levels of lead in over 40% of the food samples tested. More samples of baby foods consisting largely of grape and apple juice and carrots had detectable levels of lead than regular non-baby food versions of these products. The EDF found that over 1 million children ingest more lead than the limit set by the FDA. The report suggests that the societal benefits of eliminating lead exposure in food completely would amount to over $27 billion per year.

    Here is a breakdown of the study's findings:

    • Fruit juice - 89% of baby food samples containing grape juice had detectable levels of lead, while 67% of mixed fruit juice, 55% of apple juice and 45% of baby pear juice samples had lead present.
    • Root veggies - 86% of baby food containing sweet potatoes and 43% of baby food containing carrots had detectable levels of lead.
    • Cookies - 64% of arrowroot cookies and 47% of teething biscuits contained lead at detectable levels.

    detectable_lead-600

    It is essential that both the FDA and food producers implement measures to reduce lead exposure through food, particularly baby food. The EDF has outlined the following recommendations to the FDA, manufacturing companies and parents, to reduce levels of lead exposure through food:

    Recommendations to the FDA:

    • Ensure that all materials that foods come into contact with during preparation are lead-free if there is any chance that lead in those materials can contaminate the food;
    • Acknowledge the inadequacy of current international standards set for fruit juice;
    • Update the safety limits for lead as well as food safety guidelines to reflect recent scientific knowledge of the public health risks associated with lead to improve safety of children; and
    • Encourage food manufacturing companies to take measures to reduce levels of lead in food, and implement enforcement action when safely limits are breached.

    Recommendations to food manufacturers:

    • Set a lead target of less than one part per billion of lead for lead in baby foods and other food products consumed primarily by young children;
    • Strive to minimize lead contamination by sourcing lead-free ingredients. (Note: As water forms a large component of fruit juices and other food products, manufacturers should also ensure that water used in the manufacture process is not contaminated with lead);
    • Undertake frequent testing during the manufacturing process to identify all sources of lead contamination so that appropriate corrective action can be taken; and
    • Make a public commitment to reduce lead levels in food products by setting limits that are safe for public health and maintaining these limits through proactive product stewardship.

    Recommendations to parents:

    The EDF encourages parents to consult with their family pediatrician to become more aware of sources of lead exposure so that they can take measures to actively reduce their child's exposure to lead. Parents should also contact representatives of their favorite food brands to check whether the manufacturer regularly monitors lead levels in its products and, particularly in the case of baby food/juice products, that lead levels are under 1 ppb.

    Parents should also have their drinking water tested for lead, as this is yet another common source of lead exposure. If lead levels are high, drinking water should be filtered with a good quality water filter to ensure that the water your children drink does not pose a health risk.
    Reference

  • Controlling Lead Spread in Drinking Water Supplies

    Even though lead water pipes were banned in the US several decades ago, they are still used in water distribution networks that supply drinking water to millions of households across the country. Corrosion of these aging lead pipes risks leaching lead into the water supply, putting children at risk of neurological and developmental disorders resulting from exposure to this hazardous contaminant.

    The commonly proposed solution of digging up these old lead pipelines and replacing sections of them with pipes made from other metals, for example copper, risks dislodging lead particles from the walls of the pipes and releasing them into the drinking water supply. Also, replacing only a portion of the lead pipes connecting a home to the water mains instead of exchanging the connection entirely poses a further risk of lead contamination.

    DC_WASA_Lead_Service_Replacement_Notice

    Now, in an effort to maintain a safe drinking water supply, a team of water engineers from Washington University in St. Louis have developed a modeling tool that allows water technicians to track the path along which lead particles may be carried when water pipes are partially replaced in the supply line.

    "We all know lead is not safe, it needs to go," said Assistant Vice Chancellor of International Programs Pratim Biswas, the Lucy and Stanley Lopata Professor and the chair of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering at the School of Engineering & Applied Science. "This is the first comprehensive model that works as a tool to help drinking-water utility companies and others to predict the outcome of an action. If they have the necessary information of a potential action, they can run this model and it can advise them on how best to proceed with a pipe replacement to ensure there are no adverse effects."

    The study, which was recently published in the scientific journal Environmental Science & Technology, the authors outline how their model is able to predict how far particles of lead and other dissolved substances might travel along the pipeline after they have been disturbed. Expanding on water-quality computer models they had developed for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier, Biswas and his research team developed a new model that is able to predict the release of lead particulates while taking factors such as the age and the dimensions of the pipe, patterns of water usage, water chemistry, as well as any previous disturbances to the water pipe.

    135794_web

    After running several computer simulations to test their predictions, Biswas and his colleagues are now ready to make the model more widely available so that water utilities and even water consumers can make use of the tool. According to Biswas, a water utility can enter information pertaining to their water distribution system and receive recommendations as to how to proceed with a partial pipe replacement without compromising drinking water quality.

    The researchers have also developed a number of other models related to drinking water quality in water distribution networks, including models that enable utilities to accurately predict the concentration of disinfectants used in the water treatment process along the water distribution network, particularly in systems where there are dead-ends. They plan to make these models available for water utilities to download so that they can receive recommendations that will help them make decisions to ensure that the drinking water they supply to their consumers is safe to drink.

    All Berkey systems equipped with the black berkey filters will remove lead from the water.

    Journal Reference

    Ahmed A. Abokifa and Pratim Biswas. Modeling Soluble and Particulate Lead Release into Drinking Water from Full and Partially Replaced Lead Service Lines. Environ. Sci. Technol., 2017, 51 (6), pp 3318–3326 DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b04994

  • A Closer Analysis of What Caused Flint's Water Woes

    As water officials at Flint, Michigan, continue to deal with the unfolding health crisis associated with elevated lead levels in the town's drinking water, scientists who initially discovered lead in the tap water of a Flint household have analyzed galvanized iron water pipes that were removed from the "ground zero" home — where the first child with high levels of lead in their blood was identified — for testing.

    There tests confirm that the lead particles that had built up on the internal surface of the galvanized iron pipes was in all probability the source of lead contaminants in the water.

    Lead levels in Flint's tap water spiked following a switch in the town's water supply in April 2014, when the city opted for the Flint River as its drinking water source. After the switch, water officials failed to treat the water line with a corrosion-control remedy to keep the lead-containing layers of rust stable within the water pipelines.

    Typical Rusted Water Pipe Typical Rusted Water Pipe

    Soon thereafter, residents began complaining that their water looked and smelt odd. Then, when LeeAnne Walters' family fell ill she contacted Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech engineer, requesting that he come an test their water.

    Thirty-two water samples were collected from the Walters' residence, all of which contained lead at levels that exceeded the 14 microgram per liter actionable standard set by the EPA. Four of the samples had lead concentrations that exceeded 5,000 micrograms per liter — the threshold at which lead is declared hazardous waste, and one sample had lead concentrations of 13,200 micrograms per liter.

    Edwards and his research team have since analyzed the galvanized iron water pipes that connected the lead pipes from the service line to the Walters' home. Their findings, which were recently published in the American Chemical Society journal, Environmental Science & Technology, show that high concentrations of lead in the household's tap water correlated with levels of zinc, tin and cadmium — components used in the internal lining of the pipes.

    According to the authors, the results suggest that because no corrosion inhibitors were added to the water extracted from the Flint River, the water caused the layers of rust (including the lead attached to it) to be released from the internal wall of the iron pipes.

    The scientists conclude that the combination of lead service pipes followed by galvanized iron water pipes supplying the home, is very likely to pose a health risk to residents living in other towns and cities that have this type of configuration.

    They recommend replacing the lead service pipes as a good first step, but suggest that lead accumulation on aging galvanized iron water pipes potentially poses both a short- and long-term health concern.

    Journal Reference:

    Kelsey J. Pieper, Min Tang, and Marc A. Edwards. Flint Water Crisis Caused By Interrupted Corrosion Control: Investigating "Ground Zero" Home Environ. Sci. Technol. (Feb 1, 2017), DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b04034

  • A Closer Analysis of What Caused Flint's Water Woes

    As water officials at Flint, Michigan continue to deal with the unfolding health crisis associated with elevated lead levels in the town's drinking water, scientists who initially discovered lead in the tap water of a Flint household have analyzed galvanized iron water pipes that were removed from the "ground zero" home — where the first child with high levels of lead in their blood was identified — for testing.

    These tests confirm that the lead particles that had built up on the internal surface of the galvanized iron pipes was in all probability the source of lead contaminants in the water.

    Lead levels in Flint's tap water spiked following a switch in the town's water supply in April 2014, when the city opted for the Flint River as its drinking water source. After the switch, water officials failed to treat the water line with a corrosion-control remedy to keep the lead-containing layers of rust stable within the water pipelines.

    flint es-2016-04034p_0006

    Soon thereafter, residents began complaining that their water looked and smelled odd. Then, when LeeAnne Walters' family fell ill, she contacted Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech engineer requesting that he come and test their water.

    Thirty-two water samples were collected from the Walters' residence, all of which contained lead at levels that exceeded the 14 microgram per liter actionable standard set by the EPA. Four of the samples had lead concentrations that exceeded 5,000 micrograms per liter — the threshold at which lead is declared hazardous waste, and one sample had lead concentrations of 13,200 micrograms per liter.

    Edwards and his research team have since analyzed the galvanized iron water pipes that connected the lead pipes from the service line to the Walters' home. Their findings, which were recently published in the American Chemical Society journal and Environmental Science & Technology, show that high concentrations of lead in the household's tap water correlated with levels of zinc, tin and cadmium — components used in the internal lining of the pipes.

    According to the authors, the results suggest that because no corrosion inhibitors were added to the water extracted from the Flint River, the water caused the layers of rust (including the lead attached to it) to be released from the internal wall of the iron pipes.

    The scientists conclude that the combination of lead service pipes followed by galvanized iron water pipes supplying the home, is very likely to pose a health risk to residents living in other towns and cities that have this type of configuration.

    They recommend replacing the lead service pipes as a good first step, but suggest that lead accumulation on aging galvanized iron water pipes potentially poses both a short- and long-term health concern.

    Journal Reference:

    Kelsey J. Pieper, Min Tang, and Marc A. Edwards. Flint Water Crisis Caused By Interrupted Corrosion Control: Investigating "Ground Zero" Home Environ. Sci. Technol. (Feb 1, 2017), DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b04034

  • 5300 US Water Systems Found to be Tainted by Lead

    According to a recent CNN report, 5,300 US water systems are tainted with lead, exposing approximately 18 million Americans to dangerously high levels of lead.

    This report, which was prepared by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), states the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is aware of the problem, but has not taken much action to prevent the danger this poses to consumers.

    "Imagine a cop sitting, watching people run stop signs, and speed at 90 miles per hour in small communities and still doing absolutely nothing about it -- knowing the people who are violating the law. And doing nothing. That's unfortunately what we have now," said Erik Olson, health program director at Natural Resources Defense Council, which analyzed the EPA's data for its report.

    In this scenario, the 'cop' is the states where there are concerns — who have a duty to ensure that the water they provide residents is safe to drink — together with the EPA, the water watchdog agency, who is supposed to act when water standards are not met. Yet in many instances the EPA has been failing to step in.

    The EPA implemented a lead and copper regulation to protect American's from the country's aging water infrastructure. Yet, in many cases the safeguards put in place are not being met. According to the CNN report, more than 5,300 US water systems do not comply with the safety measures set out in the ruling, putting residents at the same risk as those living in Flint, Michigan. The affected water utilities are guilty of several violations including:

    • Failure to adequately test for lead
    • Failure to adequately treat water to prevent lead contamination
    • Failure to inform residents of lead contamination

    According to the report, in 817 instances, states stepped in and took action, while the EPA only intervened in just 88 instances. To make matters worse, the report has revealed that in many cases the EPA is aware that many water utilities buck the system by using dubious testing methods to avoid detecting high concentrations of lead, such as getting residents to flush their pipes before testing. Yet they have not stepped in to take action, choosing rather to turn a blind eye, even though this puts residents at risk of lead poisoning. Consequently, the number of water systems — which could number hundreds, or even thousands — and ultimately the number of Americans affected, could be much, much higher. What is even more concerning is that the public is blissfully unaware of the hazards they face.

    These violations are not restricted to small towns like Flint; they effect large cities servicing thousands of residents. Philadelphia is a key example. Of the approximately 50,000 residences served by lead water pipes, the city tested a mere 40 homes for lead, mostly from homes considered low risk. Seven of the homes tested had high levels of lead. The residents in the remaining 49,960 homes that were not tested have no idea whether they are being exposed to high levels of lead or not.

    The NRDC report implies that these results are skewed and thus flawed. Yanna Lambrinidou, a water researcher at Virgina Tech who has been monitoring the situation, says the EPA should immediately alert Philadelphia residents that the test results are unreliable, so that people can take precautions to ensure they are not exposed to high levels of lead.

    In the meantime, the EPA and the state of Pennsylvania are throwing the ball around with the EPA saying that the state is responsible for enforcing the lead rule in Philadelphia, while the Philadelphia Mayor's office saying that it plans to adhere to the EPA's new guidelines the next time it tests for lead, which will be in 2017. In the meantime, there is an entire city — 50,000 homes — that are not protected. Philadelphia, like Flint, is just the tip of the iceberg. Other cities are affected too. Approximately 97% of violations related to lead that the EPA has taken note of are for failure to adequately monitor lead levels in drinking water.

    "I think that the basic problem is that the federal EPA and the water officials, and a lot of communities across the country are very tight. And the EPA has been very reluctant to take enforcement action against them in most cases. They're friends, they hang out with each other, they ask for each other's advice, and you get close after a while," Olson said.

    While lead is not safe at any level, the EPA standard for drinking water was set at 15 parts per billion (ppb) in 1990. When lead levels exceed this standard, regulators are supposed to take action, forcing water utilities to take measures to correct and address the problem to ensure water is safe to drink.

    While Flint has made the headlines recently due to the extremely high levels of lead recorded (over 10,000 ppb in some cases), the NRDC has revealed that a water system in Utah serving 1,675 residents had lead levels of 6,000 ppb. In addition, "there are eight water systems in seven different states and territories with lead levels above 1,000 ppb; and 25 water systems with lead levels above 200 ppb."

    Further Info:

    For more information, including maps showing which communities are affected, read the full CNN report.

    How to test for lead in your home water supply

  • Flint Just the Tip of the Iceberg - Country's Lead Problem Extends Beyond Flint

    The recent fallout over the high levels of lead in Flint's drinking water, has highlighted not only the problems this Michigan city is facing in terms of its drinking water quality, but also wider concerns regarding the country's aging drinking water distribution network.

    With Earth Day approaching, Jerald Schnoor, a Professor of both Occupational and Environmental Health and Civil and Environmental Engineering at The University of Iowa, has called on government to provide funding to upgrade the nation's water distribution system by replacing deteriorating lead water pipes that distribute drinking water across the country.

    Typical Rusted Water Pipe Typical Rusted Water Pipe

    In an article recently published in the ACS' Journal of Chemical Education, Schnoor addresses the problem head-on and proposes recommendations on how best to tackle the issue.

    For many cities across the US — particularly cities in the eastern parts of the country — the water distribution infrastructure was established long before the health risks associated with lead exposure due to lead contamination in drinking water became apparent. Many of these cities' water distribution networks consist of lead pipes, lead solder and lead faucets that were installed over 50 years ago — and in some cases over 100 years ago — posing a potentially significant health risk to the communities they serve. Furthermore, the plumbing inside older homes typically consist of lead piping and pipe joints sealed with lead solder, as well as brass tap fittings that contain a high lead component. All these plumbing fixtures and fittings can potentially provide a source of soluble lead which can leach into the household's drinking water. The problem is exacerbated if the water passing through these pipes is corrosive, which can cause the pipes to become corroded, resulting in fine lead particles being deposited into the drinking water.

    Modern research has since shown that ingesting lead can have dire health effects in both children and adults, and can result in numerous long term cognitive and other health issues. Yet these legacy lead water pipes remain, delivering drinking water that is potentially contaminated with lead to communities across the country.

    While water utility companies typically try to take preventative measures to limit lead getting into drinking water by adding chemical additives, according to Schnoor, this approach cannot ensure that drinking water will remain safe all along the network until it flows out of a household tap.

    Schnoor suggests that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) needs to address the flaws in the Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure that drinking water quality not only meets safety standards when it leaves the water treatment facility, but that it remains safe to drink when it flows from the consumer's taps. To get a clearer picture of true water quality, sampling needs to be undertaken more frequently, and include points further along the distribution network, including 'dead-ends' within the network and at customer's taps (including both filtered and unfiltered water samples).

    According to Schnoor: "Lead pipes are a hazardous legacy, much like the waste sites of old."

    He suggests that a national fund be set up to finance the replacement of the outdated water infrastructure, including the service pipelines that link to the home, as well as the internal plumbing within the home, even though this is the homeowners property — for example, funds will need to be set aside to assist economically disadvantaged families living in an old house that is in need of a plumbing upgrade.

    Journal Reference

    Jerald L. Schnoor. Recognizing drinking water pipes as community health hazards. J. Chem. Educ., 2016, 93 (4), pp 581–582. April 12, 2016. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.6b00218
    Image Suggestions

  • Flint, Michigan's Toxic Water Situation Will Persist for Some Time

    A study released by the The Hurley Medical Center, in Flint, Michigan, in September 2015, confirmed many parents’ fears: their children are being silently poisoned by lead. The report revealed that the number of children and infants with high levels of lead — a highly toxic heavy metal — in their systems has almost doubled since 2014, when the city opted to use the Flint River as a water source instead of the Detroit water system used prior to the switch.

    The crisis originally reached a head following a Michigan state emergency declaration last month, but since Saturday when President Obama declared the situation a national emergency, much of the US public is finally waking up.  Some residents have taken legal action by filing a class-action federal lawsuit against the city, state, and officials responsible for putting the health and safety of their families at risk by exposing them to drinking water that is highly toxic. There are no simple solutions and they expect the problem to persist at least a year or more as efforts to correct the issue are put into place.

    The lawsuit states: “For more than 18 months, state and local government officials ignored irrefutable evidence that the water pumped from the Flint River exposed [city residents] to extreme toxicity. The deliberately false denials about the safety of the Flint River water was as deadly as it was arrogant."

    Parents in the city of Flint have been taking their children to visit GPs and clinics for medical check ups for months, fueled by concerns that they are being poisoned. So, what are the symptoms and long-term consequences of lead exposure?

    According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), symptoms of lead poisoning can initially materialize as changes in child behavior and learning disabilities. While exposure to lead can cause high blood pressure and kidney damage in adults, children are particularly vulnerable as they tend to absorb greater levels of lead — sometimes as much as five times the amount of adults exposed to the same source. Once lead enters the body it is dispersed throughout the system and can accumulate in organs of the body including the brain, bones, liver and kidneys,

    "In particular, lead affects children’s brain development resulting in reduced intelligencequotient (IQ), behavioural changes such as shortening of attention span and increased antisocial behaviour, and reduced educational attainment," says the WHO. "Lead exposure also causes anaemia, hypertension, renal impairment, immunotoxicity and toxicity to the reproductive organs. The neurological and behavioural effects of lead are believed to be irreversible."

    Residents began complaining about the quality of their drinking water, noting that it was cloudy and smelled bad, almost as soon as Flint began drawing the city’s water from the Flint River, and complaints have escalated ever since. While water officials initially tried to pacify residents and declared the water safe to drink, the state later issued a warning notice to inform residents that their drinking water contained high levels of trihalomethanes, a water contaminant that forms as a byproduct following treatment with chlorine, and which is associated with various diseases including cancer. The city then advised residents that children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with a weak immune system should consult their doctors as to whether it was safe for them to drink the water or to rather use an alternative source of drinking water.

    For many residents who could not afford to use expensive bottled water as their sole source of drinking water indefinitely, their only option was to take their chances and revert back to tap water. However, most protested and petitioned for change. Water officials had originally planned to continue using the Flint River water source until later in 2016 while a new cost-effective pipeline was being constructed between Lake Huron (Detroit) and Flint, but in October, officials finally conceded to pressure from residents and reverted to the Detroit water system as Flint’s main source of water.

    Following the declaration of a state of emergency, Flint officials are rallying around in damage control mode. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has made 28,000 liters of bottled water available to residents via a local food bank. The city is offering to test residents water for free, and is also providing residents with water filters. Even celebrities such as Cher, and filmmakers such as Michael Moore and doing what they can to assist.

    There are still concerns that in certain areas of the city unfiltered water could still be unsafe to drink. There are also concerns about the long-term effects of this exposure. In an article published in The Washington Post Flint Mayor, Karen Weaver aired her concerns, stating that the long-term health risks could “lead to a greater need for special education and mental health services, as well as developments in the juvenile justice system” in future.

    The untold story is that this is not the last time we're going to hear about a municipal water crisis in the US such as this. Municipalities are always looking to save money, so we could easily see a similar event in the future.  But more likely, with the many aging city water distribution systems that lack funding for updating and pipe replacements, we will see many smaller contamination events that don't national news, but have a continued and growing impact across our US towns and cities.

    The bottom line is that lead contamination has serious long-term health effects. If you are concerned that your tap water may be contaminated, get it tested, and invest in a good quality drinking water filter that is capable of removing lead. The Big Berkey range of drinking water filters fitted with Black Berkey filters can reduce lead and other heavy metals by 99.9%+, and can also remove trihalomethanes and many other drinking water contaminants to ensure your family's safety.

  • Galvanized Steel Pipes Leach Lead into Drinking Water

    When high concentrations of lead are detected in drinking water, they typically originate from lead pipes or from bronze and brass plumbing fittings that contain lead, but now a new study has revealed that galvanized steel pipes coated with a zinc coating that contains lead can also be a significant source of lead contamination in drinking water over the long-term.

    The study, which was recently published online in the scientific journal Environmental Engineering Science, notes that when copper pipes are fitted upstream from galvanized steel piping, lead release from zinc coating on galvanized pipes downstream can be exacerbated.

    "Water valves with spigots" by Paul Goyette - http://www.flickr.com/photos/pgoyette/98948885/. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Water_valves_with_spigots.jpg#/media/File:Water_valves_with_spigots.jpg "Water valves with spigots" by Paul Goyette - http://www.flickr.com/photos/pgoyette/98948885/. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Water_valves_with_spigots.jpg#/media/File:Water_valves_with_spigots.jpg

    The researchers analyzed drinking water samples taken from homes fitted with galvanized steel water pipes at various cities across the US. Some of the water samples had lead concentrations higher than 100 micrograms per liter. When the scientists ran simulated lab tests, lead concentrations in water flowing through galvanized steel piping was as high as 172 micrograms per liter -- over 10 times as high as the action level determined by the EPA.

    Health Risks Associated with Lead Contamination

    Lead is highly toxic to humans and animals. When it enters the body it can cause lead poisoning, and in high doses it can cause convulsions, coma, and can be fatal. It is dangerous at even low concentrations as it accumulates in the body tissue causing long-term damage to health. Lead can enter the body through ingestion of lead particles or dissolved lead in drinking water.

    Children are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning, and can suffer the following effects even when exposed to low levels of lead:

    • damage to nervous system and brain
    • learning disabilities, attention deficits, and behavioral problems
    • slow physical and mental development
    • impaired vision and motor coordination
    • poor hearing
    • headaches

    While adults are not as susceptible to lead poisoning at low level exposure to lead, exposure to higher concentrations, or long-term exposure to lead over an extended period, can pose the following health risks to adults:

    • high blood pressure
    • kidney problems
    • neurological problems
    • disrupts reproductive system – can decrease fertility in both men and women
    • can cause problems with developing fetus during pregnancy leading to slow development, birth defects, or still births
    • disrupts digestive system
    • difficulty concentrating, memory loss
    • painful muscles and joints

    According to Environmental Engineering Science's Editor-in-Chief, Domenico Grasso:

    "The Edwards' laboratory is well known for uncovering risks associated with concentrations of lead in urban water supplies. This latest important paper from this research group has identified galvanized pipes as a potentially significant source of lead."

    Removing Lead from Drinking Water

    The good news is that a Berkey Water Filter fitted with the standard Black Berkey filters can remove lead (as well as other heavy metals) by as much as 99.9%, and can also remove other common drinking water contaminants, such as VOCs, chemicals, bacteria and viruses from your drinking water. Water filtered through a Berkey Filter is rendered safe to drink, protecting your family from potentially hazardous substances that may be present in your drinking water.

    Journal Reference

    Clark Brandi N., Masters Sheldon Vaughn, and Edwards Marc A. Lead Release to Drinking Water form Galvanized Steel Pipe Coatings. Environmental Engineering Science. Ahead of print. doi:10.1089/ees.2015.0073.

  • Report Finds Drinking Water at Schools Still Contaminated with Lead

    According to a recently published report, nearly 200 water fountains and sinks in public schools of Jersey City are contaminated with lead at levels higher than acceptable standards set by the EPA for lead in drinking water. In one water fountain the levels of lead were 800 times higher the acceptable safety levels set by the EPA, while in 37 other cases levels of lead were 100 times greater than the acceptable standard.

    According to a spokeswoman for the school district, the affected water fountains and sinks were not currently in use and had been decommissioned for many years. However, a group of concerned parents, 'Jersey City Parents for Progress', led by Ellen Simon, fear that while this may be the case, there is a chance that in a few years time someone may reactivate them, forgetting why they were shut off in the first place.  The other concern that the group has is that sinks used in pre-K classes for hygiene lessons, which includes lessons on toothbrushing, were not tested for lead.

    jersey city lead

    According to the report approximately 1,017 water fountains and sinks were tested between October 2012 and January 2013, with schools 5, 9, 23, 25, 27, 29 annex, 31 and Zero Tolerance, an alternative program at the Bright Street Academy, being the worst effected.

    The report shows that School 25 on Kennedy Boulevard exhibits the most problems, with 20 water fountains and sinks and fountains containing lead levels that exceed federal safety standards, while School 41 on Wilkinson Avenue has 18 contaminated sinks and water fountains. The ice machine at Snyder High School contained lead levels 20 times higher than the EPA standard, and at School 16 a sink used by the school nurse contained lead at levels three times higher than the standard.

    Testing showed that 174 water fountains and sinks in the Jersey City school district met or exceeded maximum lead levels of 15 parts per billion recommended by the EPA for drinking water. A water fountain at Zero Tolerance had lead levels of 12,800 parts per billion – 853 times more than recommended by the EPA!

    A similar round of testing conducted in 2010 by a separate environmental remediation company showed 108 water fountains and sinks to be contaminated. The number has clearly risen and appears to be widespread rather than an isolated case. There also appears to not be any city-wide solution on the table due to the high costs involved.

    Lead is particularly harmful to children and infants and children; it can stunt physical and mental development, and can reduce concentration and cause learning problems. Long term exposure to lead in drinking water can result in high blood pressure and kidney problems in adulthood.

    If you're concerned about the possibility of your child being exposure to lead in drinking water it would be prudent to send them to school equipped with a water bottle filled from a source that is known to be lead-free. Alternatively provide your child with a portable water filtration solution, such as a refillable Sport Berkey filter drinking bottle, which will remove any contaminants that may be present in the drinking water, including lead to ensure your child remains safe.

  • Elevated Levels of Lead in Drinking Water Found in New Jersey Towns

    Levels of lead in drinking water are higher than they should be in towns of New Jersey, according to a news report by CBS New York, December 12th, 2012. Many residents are not taking any chances, choosing to drink bottled water or filtered water rather than risk their health or that of their family.

    Lead is a highly toxic metal that can cause lead poisoning if consumed or inhaled. In high doses it can be fatal, resulting in convulsions, coma, and finally death. Lead is toxic even at low doses, as it can accumulate in the cells of the body and cause long-term health effects.

    Effects of Lead Contamination in Drinking Water

    Children are most susceptible to lead poisoning, and even low levels of exposure to lead can damage the brain and nervous system; cause loss of concentration, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems; impede mental and physical development; and cause problems with sight, hearing, and motor coordination.

    While adults are less vulnerable to the effects of lead than children, high levels of exposure, or exposure over a long period can pose serious health risks, including: high blood pressure, kidney damage, reduced fertility and other reproductive problems, as well as reduced concentration and memory loss.

    Lead contaminated drinking water can therefore pose a grave health risk, and consequently is an issue that local water utilities and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) take very seriously. The maximum contaminant level (MCL) for lead in drinking water as recommended by the EPA is zero.

    While water treatment facilities regularly check for elevated levels of lead in drinking water, lead typically gets into drinking water after it leaves the treatment plant, and may go undetected. The most common route for lead to enter drinking water is by leaching into water from old lead pipes and plumbing. Lead was commonly used for plumbing before 1986, but as it is a soft, toxic metal that is easily corroded – especially by water that is acidic in nature – lead is no longer used in water pipes and plumbing fixtures.

    Another area of concern is open reservoirs, which are vulnerable to contamination from wind borne lead particles. Hurricane Sandy brought these fears home loud and clear. Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey towns face yet another problem. Wind and water damage to homes has caused paint to peel off walls, putting local residents at risk of lead exposure from lead dust released from the flaking paint of older homes. Residents are also concerned that lead particles from contaminated Superfund sites have been carried away by high speed winds and the storm surge that washed through the area. They fear that these particles could contaminate soil, groundwater sources, open reservoirs, and drinking water, and could potentially pose a severe health risk.

    Precautionary Measures

    If you are concerned that your water supply may be contaminated, you should get it tested. Purchase a lead water testing kit – available from home improvement stores – collect a water sample, and send this away to a reputable water testing lab for analysis.

    If the lab results show that your water has elevated levels of lead, there are a number of precautionary measures you can take to protect yourself and your family.

    1. Because lead leaches from pipes into water, don't use water that has been standing in the pipes for a long time. Only use cold water for drinking, preparing food, or cooking, as hot water is stored in the water heater before being heated and piped to your hot water faucet, and it stands in the pipes between use. If cold water has been standing for more than six hours you will need to flush out your pipes before drinking the water or using it to prepare or cook food – open the faucet and let the water run until it is cold.

    2. Replace existing outdated lead pipes and plumbing with lead-free alternatives that comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).

    3. A cheaper and simpler solution is to invest in a good quality home water filter that is capable of removing lead from drinking water. This will ensure that your water is safe to drink and tastes great.

    While boiling water will eradicate most pathogens, it will not remove lead or other metals from water – in fact it can actually make them more concentrated as water vaporizes as steam. The only way to safely remove lead from contaminated water is by using a drinking water filter that is certified to remove lead.

Items 1 to 10 of 13 total

Page:
  1. 1
  2. 2