The recent news about the lead disaster in Flint Michigan and its aftermath has returned water quality to the minds of Americans. Poisoning caused by lead in water is not limited to negligence by municipal authorities. Homeowners who rely on a private well for their water supply can also be at risk. The EPA suggests well owners test their water annually for contaminants including lead. This is especially important if your home is 30 years or older.
Home built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, seals, and fittings. They may also contain brass fittings, which could also contain the metal. Until 1997, some brass faucets contained up to 8%. Water sitting in these pipes and fixtures can sometimes leach if the water has been present for an extended period.
The quality of your water can affect this process. If your home has a low pH, it can become corrosive. Metals can dissolve in this corrosive water especially if it is hot. Much of the water in New England and New Hampshire, both surface water and groundwater tends to be corrosive, so it’s important to test your water’s pH levels. One sign of corrosive water is a blue-green staining on tubs and sinks.
Lead Can Be A Health Hazard
The presence of lead in your drinking water is a potential health hazard especially for young children living in the home. There are simple ways to avoid risk such as only cooking with cold water or flushing your pipes with cold water for one minute before using or drinking any water. There are other effective treatment options. The best course of action is to speak with your well water professional.
Symptoms of Exposure
Poisoning can be difficult to detect, even in people with high blood levels of lead. Symptoms don’t typically manifest until dangerous amounts have accumulated. Symptoms can vary in infants, children and adults. Here are some signs to watch for:
Lead in Newborns:
• Watch for learning difficulties or slowed growth
Lead In Children:
• Developmental delay and learning difficulties
• Loss of appetite
• Weight loss, sluggishness, and fatigue
• Abdominal pain and vomiting
• Hearing loss
Children tend to be more at risk that adults regarding the effects of exposure, but poisoning is also dangerous for adults.
Symptoms of lead poisoning can be serious in adults and include:
• Joint and muscle pain
• Declines in mental functioning
• Pain, numbness and tingling in the extremities
• Headache, memory loss and mood disorders
• Reduced sperm count or abnormal sperm
• Miscarriage or premature birth in pregnant women
Even low-level exposure can cause damage over time. This is especially true in infants and children where there is increased risk to brain development, and the damage may be irreversible. High-level exposure can damage kidneys and the nervous system both in children and adults. Extreme levels of exposure can result in seizures, unconsciousness and even death.
Testing is the only way to detect the presence of lead in your drinking water. Make sure you have your water tested by a reliable, state-certified lab to ensure accuracy. Give the experts at Skillings and Sons a call. They’re happy to offer you valuable advice and assistance with your testing questions. Their experienced staff can help you collect samples, interpret test results and offer tips on affordable home treatment solutions is contaminants are found.