Myths About Lead Contamination

The recent reports about lead pipes delivering water to homes all over Toronto are alarming, and with good reason. Lead contamination is no joke! As with any major news story, within weeks the information and misinformation was spreading like wild fire. To help you make informed decisions about developing a lead remediation plan for your home, we have compiled some of the common myths about lead contamination to help give you the facts.

Myth: Bottled water is safer than tap water

Unless you are currently under a tap water drinking ban, like the recent one in Ohio, there is very little evidence that bottled water is actually safer than tap water. If it is naturally sourced like from a natural spring or a glacier, it’s not subject to the same tests that municipal water supplies are every day. If it is filtered water like many of the most popular brands today are, it’s the same tap water you’re already drinking and the filtration process may or may not filter lead. Of course if your home has tested positive for lead levels that are above the acceptable limit you should follow any instructions you were given regarding the use of bottled water, but otherwise the money going to bottled water may be better spent elsewhere.

Myth: Lead is absorbed topically

If you do have lead in your water supply in the home, it’s important to address it as soon as possible, especially if there are young children in the home. The effects of lead contamination are most pronounced in children under the age of six. With that in mind, it’s also important to take the time to develop a plan to safely remove the lead pipes in your home and from the city water supply. The discovery of lead in your water supply is obviously an upsetting one, and you should follow any instructions you are given about using your tap water for cooking, washing dishes or brushing teeth. However, you can rest assured that it’s still safe to shower as usual. Health Canada has issued a formal statement to advise that “lead from drinking water is not well absorbed by the skin and is not taken in through breathing.”

Myth: Anyone can remove lead pipes

While it’s probably true that any plumber can remove lead pipes in your home, the safe disposal of lead requires professional intervention. Furthermore, you can only change the pipes within your house and to where your house connects to the city water supply. The recent reports concern the main water supply pipes, a change that can only be performed by the city.

When it comes to keeping your family’s drinking water safe from lead contamination, it helps to get the facts before making a decision. Be sure to hire a professional lead removal company to test for the presence of lead and to develop a strategy to remove it.

Image courtesy of Keerati at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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