Should YOU Be Concerned About Lead?

The crisis in Flint, MI has certainly brought the issue of lead poisoning to the forefront of our awareness. But the scary truth is –  there are 18 cities in Pennsylvania with higher lead level exposure than Flint. Here in PA the majority of lead poisoning risk comes from older homes with deteriorating lead based paint. Public drinking water systems typically are not sources of lead poisoning, but especially older homes may still have lead contaminated water. There were some interesting insights in a recent PennLive article. If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and older home plumbing systems. None of the region’s water mains are made of lead, but some service lines are. While the authorities do replace lead lines, the homeowner is responsible for the service line from the curb to the home. Water agencies also add a corrosion control inhibitor that reacts with the water pipe’s wall to prevent heavy metals like lead from leeching off the piping and out of the spigot. Also most of our regional water is ‘hard’, which reduces the possibility of lead leaching from pipes. The hard water builds up a film on the pipe, creating a physical barrier. This is a doubled edged sword because hard water is the cause of many other plumbing issues for which many people use a water softener. While the CDC has established the reference level at 5 [micrograms], they’re not saying that 5 is safe. Even at 5 there is evidence that nerves...