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Lead in Drinking Water: Bigger Problem than Ever Imagined

Lead in Drinking Water:  Bigger Problem than Ever Imagined

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A recent report reveals that around 5300 municipal drinking water systems across the country are tainted with lead that exceeds safe drinking standards.  Consequently, the problem in Flint, Michigan is just a drop in the bucket when compared to the ramifications of this report.  Not only does this highlight the reality that many water delivery systems are inherently unsafe, including pipes in our homes, but it also shows the absolute ineptitude of the government when it comes to dealing with the problem.

Chances are that this news was no revelation to those who have been quietly looking into this for years.  By the time the government begins studies, evaluates results, has hearings and finally makes reports, people can have easily been exposed to elevated levels of lead for decades.  Furthermore, now that the EPA has made this problem “official”, it will now take years for cleanup efforts to take place. 

Limited Options

There are only a few things that people can do to minimize their exposure to lead, especially if this metal is found along the water distribution system.  That can mean anything from lead in the water mains, pipes in houses, water towers, purification facilities or in the source water itself.  Unfortunately, the only way to really deal with lead exposure is to find the source and eliminate it.  This can be an expensive proposition that will take a long time to shake itself out.

Unfortunately, we’re the ones who are caught in the middle, and this is yet another example of how the government is not doing its job when it comes to really protecting citizens.  This means that finding solutions to lead problems falls on us and us alone. 

The first option is to flush your pipes every morning or at any time when they have not been used for more than five hours.  Let the water run until it is as cold as it gets for at least a couple of minutes.  Cold water interacts with lead and makes it harder to get into our drinks and bodies.  You should also never use warm water for cooking or drinking.  Always get it as cold as possible before filling glasses or pots and pans.

The next option is to install a water filter that is specifically designed to remove lead.  Unfortunately, a lot of products on the market do not, and you need to make sure that you get one that does.  You will also need some sort of lead test kit to ensure that you are always drinking and storing water that has the lowest possible readings. 

Keep in mind that purification tablets as well as boiling water will not remove lead or reduce its concentration in your water.  Replacing lead pipes in indoor plumbing and upgrading aging water distribution systems is the only way to really tackle this problem.  However, chances are that it will be years at best before we start to see the beginning of improvements. 

Make sure that you’re always in a position to keep lead exposure to a minimum.  Remember that many historians think that the end of the Roman Empire came from lead poisoning.  It’s not beyond the realm of possibility to see the same thing happen here if we’re not more careful.  While the government keeps trying to cover up problems, it’s up to you to discover them and take appropriate action to protect you and your family.

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