If there is lead in water, almost all of it is produced by underground service lines that carry water to over 6 million homes, based on water utility assessments. Lesser amounts of lead can also be found in residential pipes systems like in solder as well as fittings.
Wherever lead is present, elements can infrequently make their way into the water. Elements of lead can get into water if something were to jostle the piping, like a large truck coming down the road. Lead also seeps little by little into water once the water is held stagnant in pipes for a couple of hours.
Utilities utilize anti-corrosive chemical substances to slow the process down, however they are unable to stop it completely.
In the last few decades, due to extra government rules, blood lead levels across the U.S. have dropped significantly. Simultaneously, evidence that comparatively small amounts of lead in the blood may cause substantial harm has mounted.
Analysts now understand that blood lead levels in small children under five micrograms per deciliter — the Centers for Disease Control’s “level of concern” — can result in IQ deficits; this also raises in behavior difficulties such as ADHD as well as conduct disorder.
In grown ups, low-level contact of 10 micrograms per deciliter may cause high blood pressure and/or kidney troubles.
“We’ve become accustomed to these conditions,” said professor at Simon Fraser University Bruce Lanphear. “They are familiar, so we accept them, and we don’t see that part of the problem is lead, because it’s insidious.”
He said there is certainly technological consensus around the dangerous effects of low-level lead exposure, however lead regulations are “based more on feasibility as opposed to the best science.”
Lanphear was the main author on a recent American Academy of Pediatrics position paper. There, the Academy called on federal regulators to strengthen all of the lead rules, claiming they build an “illusion of safety.”
Joel Beauvias, the deputy assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Water, stated the agency has “consistently said that no level of lead is safe.” However, he went on to say that the agency must place limitations which can be fairly accomplished.
“The reason Congress set up the Safe Drinking Water Act was to require us to look at a level, a goal, that would be health protective and then to set standards that are as close as possible to that goal,” he stated.
The EPA works on modifying the regulation, but the agency spokesperson was not able to say if the levels are going to be an integral part of those alterations or if the agency will go public with its suggested modifications.