Water is an essential element for the human body. It is vital to stay hydrated and maintain overall health. However, ongoing studies show that tap water in many parts of Australia contains heavy metals including lead, which can have severe effects on health. The issue is particularly concerning for children, pregnant women, and elderly people. In this blog post, we will discuss the dangers of lead in tap water, how it gets into the water, its effect on health, and ways to reduce it.
Lead is a toxic heavy metal that affects almost every organ in our body. There is a reason it has been removed from petrol supplies, paints, toys and the greater majority of household products.
The harmful effects of lead on human health are well-documented. Long-term exposure to lead can lead to hypertension, heart diseases, kidney diseases, and even certain types of cancer, anxiety, depression. It is essential to take steps to minimise lead exposure and ensure that the water we drink is free from such contaminants.
Children are much more vulnerable to the effects of lead than adults, as their brains and nervous systems are still developing. Drinking tap water contaminated with lead can lead to learning difficulties, developmental delays, neurological and behavioural issues and low IQ levels in children. Pregnant women who drink lead-contaminated tap water can also cause irreversible harm to their unborn children.
The primary cause of lead contamination in tap water is old lead pipes used to deliver water to homes. Many older homes and buildings built before the 1930s used lead pipes, which can corrode over time, and tiny lead particles can enter the water supply. Lead can also be present in common brass taps, fittings, and valves. It is not uncommon for localised testing to show lead contamination of up to many times what is considered safe levels. Although there really is no safe level as it is cumulative in our bodies over time.
One does not need to look far to find instances where Australian tap water supplies have failed to meet minimal safe levels and there have been multiple instances in places such as Geelong, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and many regional areas. The chances are that on any given day most regions would likely show some levels simply due to infrastructure that delivers water to homes and commercial premises.
Municipal water supplies also use additives like chlorine to purify water, which can react with lead, leading to further contamination.
Australian Drinking Water Guidelines have defined the 'safe' level of lead fit for consumption as 0.01 mg per litre (lowered from the previous recommendation of 0.05 mg per litre). This is a significant reduction, but how does your tap water stack up?
If you live in a home built before 1989 you may still have lead based solder used in your pipes, brass pipes and low quality fixtures which contain lead and emit it into your water supplies. It's crucial to get your water tested. You can contact a professional testing company to get your water tested for lead or source quality test kits online. You can also ask your local water company for a water quality report to see if lead levels exceed the acceptable limits before it enters your home. Even many modern houses are still at risk from contamination caused by substandard quality fittings.
Many people on tank water may be consuming massive levels of lead leached into the water from roofing materials, guttering & even the tanks themselves. Over the last 20 years we have worked with many practitioners that have seen high lead toxicology in those living on tank water as it can be absorbed by inhalation, ingestion and transdermally. If you are on tank water we highly recommend having your tank water tested at your earliest convenience.
One of the best ways to reduce lead exposure is by using a quality water filtration system such as a Waters Co filter that specifically targets lead can help eliminate the element from getting back into your drinking water.
Ensuring you have clean drinking water free from harmful contaminants like lead is crucial for maintaining overall health. We have discussed the dangers of lead in tap water, its sources, and its effects on health. By taking simple steps like using a Waters Co water filtration system, getting your water tested, and ensuring your plumbing is lead-free, you can reduce the risk of exposure to lead and protect yourself and your loved ones. Don't take chances with your health; safeguard your drinking water today.