Lead Contamination

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Lead presence in drinking water has been scientifically proven to be harmful to human beings who consume the water. Lead is a natural element and, therefore, does not decompose in the environment. Scientists have shown with scientific precision that lead is among the toxic metals. Surprisingly, even at insignificantly low levels, the lead may be responsible for a variety of health complications such as learning disabilities and behavioral changes (Globalization Monitor). The concentration of lead in drinking water is more perilous to pregnant women and children under the age of six years because it interferes with the developing of their neurological systems and other body organ system. Lead damages the brain and could cause infants and children who partake of lead contaminated water to experience delays in their mental and physical development. The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) says that drinking water is responsible for 10%-20% of human exposure to lead (Water.epa.gov).

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The mind boggling question that the government is pondering on is how the lead gets into the drinking water. The lead could get into water through a variety of sources. The ground water could be containing the lead that has leached from the ground into the water. The piping system that transport water to the estates could be made with lead pipes that react with water and corrode. The corrosion, therefore, becomes the source of the lead in the water. In addition, the lead could have come from lead-based fixtures. Typically, lead contamination is a consequence of corrosion of lead-containing components in the building plumbing and water distribution systems (Globalization Monitor). These components include pipes made of lead that connect houses and buildings to the main water source, lead-based solder used to join copper pipes ferrying the water in a building.

The government is obligated to determine the source of lead contamination and seek corrective measures to mitigate further contamination of the drinking water and further exposure of citizens to health complication that may be caused by lead (Water.epa.gov). Due to a variety of sources of lead, a good move to establish the source of the lead would be to ask for the manifest from the plumbing and construction contractors of the estates. The manifest would show which kind of pipes were installed and if lead based solders were used at the joint of water pipes. If the contamination were at the fountain of the water then testing, kits should be taken to the source of water of the city to measure their content of lead. The inspectors should also determine the degree of wear in the pipes, average temperature of the water, the acidity level of the water and amount of minerals present in the water as this will be helpful in establishing the extent of lead contamination and perhaps the source of the lead (Tuzen, Soylak and Parlar).

The basic standards and guidelines established to control lead contamination have been set out quite clearly by the World Health Organization (WHO). Waterworks Regulations makes it mandatory for pipes used in plumbing to British standards that prohibit the use of lead-based components in water pipes and soldering material. The government provides for the maximum amount per liter of lead to be ten micrograms, an amount described to be safe by toxicological and biomedical parameters.

To reduce exposure to lead in drinking water, there are several undertakings that citizens should cautiously follow. The steps are simple and inexpensive ways in which one can protect their health and that of their family. One of the golden rules of reducing lead exposure is to flush the tap for about 15-30 seconds before consumption. The logic here is that the more time the water settles in the pipes, the more contaminated it becomes. Endeavor to only use cold-water tap for cooking and drinking. Hot water contains higher levels of lead since it readily dissolves in hot water than cold water. It is also important to be regularly screened for blood lead levels to make sure they are within the acceptable limits (Lubick).

The citizens should be conscious of the nature of water they receive from the public water system. They should be aggressive and inquire of whether the system contains lead pipes and whether the water being supplied is corrosive. They should further inquire about the steps being organized to make the water less corrosive and plans of the suppliers to deal with lead contamination of the water (Vermillion et al.). If a citizen happens to own a well or another type of water source, they are advised to treat the water to make it less corrosive when its pumped to the plumbing system of the building. Individual households can purchase corrosion controlling instruments like calcite filters. These devices ought to be installed in the line between the water source any lead based service connections or a pipe soldered by a lead based solder. In schools and child care facilities, the patrons need to make sure that the water inlets used for making infant formula, juice, drinking, and cooking are regularly tested for lead levels.


Globalization Monitor,. 'Summary Of Public Water Scandal In Hong Kong a Exceeding Lead Level In Water Pumping System'. N.p., 2015. Web. 7 Nov. 2015.

Lubick, Naomi. 'Drinking Water Contamination Mapped'. Nature (2008): n. pag. Web.

Tuzen, M., M. Soylak, and K. Parlar. 'Cadmium And Lead Contamination In Tap Water Samples From Tokat, Turkey'. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 75.2 (2005): 284-289. Web.

Vermillion, Brian et al. 'The Sedimentary Record Of Environmental Lead Contamination At St. Louis, Missouri (USA) Area Smelters'. Journal of Paleolimnology 33.2 (2005): 189-203. Web.

Water.epa.gov,. 'Basic Information About Lead In Drinking Water | Basic Information About Regulated Drinking Water Contaminants | US EPA'. N.p., 2015. Web. 7 Nov. 2015.

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