Know Your Contaminant: Lead

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Across the country -- from Flint to Philadelphia to Los Angeles and everywhere in-between -- citizens are outraged because of their water. Every day, families are learning that the water pouring through their taps may contain toxic lead. Though once a major building block of our society, we all now know the dangers that lead can hold. As a result we now have a set of regulations ensuring that lead is no longer used in construction, but that doesn’t mean that it’s all gone.

Come learn about exactly what lead contamination is, where is comes from, and what you can do about it.


The Impact of Lead Contamination

Due to their still developing bodies, children are at particular risk when it comes to lead poisoning. Lead poisoning can have a particular impact on children’s brains & nervous systems, with the EPA warning of the following dangers:

  • Behavior and learning problems
  • Lower IQ and hyperactivity
  • Slowed growth
  • Hearing problems
  • Anemia

These are very significant impacts, often leading to lifelong issues. One major study even links lead levels to a rise in violent crimes over the course of the 20th century,

Pregnant women must also be especially careful, as lead can be transferred straight to the fetus, resulting in similar risks to those of children, in addition to slowed fetal development or even premature birth.

In adults, lead poisoning is a huge risk too. The EPA states that lead poisoning can lead to: Cardiovascular effects, increased blood pressure and incidence of hypertension Decreased kidney function Reproductive problems

Altogether, these are incredibly impactful outcomes, so minimizing lead intake is a very vital step to take.

Where Lead Contamination Comes From

While we now know just how harmful lead poisoning can be, this certainly was not always the case. Before the 1930s, the pipes used in building, whether that be houses or other properties, were made from lead. While lead pipes were phased out for copper after that, the soldering used in those lead pipes through the 1980s also contained a high level of lead.

What's more, these lead pipes were used in more than just properties, but also the big infrastructure projects that defined that era. During FDR’s famed New Deal in the 1930s, vital infrastructure like electrification, road paving, and plumbing were rolled out to the masses. When these large scale projects were built out, they were done so with the materials of the day, and for plumbing that meant lead pipes.

This is exactly why cities like Flint, Michigan are facing massive crises -- the most basic infrastructure used to carry their water is the problem. When the pipes are bad, so is the water.

Ultimately, the use of lead in these pipes caused the metal to leach into the water being carried through it over time. That means that when the water sits in these pipes, they corrode bit by bit -- especially the older ones.

How to Know if Your Water has Lead Contamination

At the end of the day, it's hard to know if your water is carrying some lead in it. Lead contamination is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, so it cannot be detected by any simple means. Further, considering how great a pathway your water takes on it’s route to your glass, there’s just no way to know where it’s been.

So, as it stands now, the only way to know whether or not your water is contaminated is through testing. Only a full and thorough water test can tell you if and how much lead your water contains.

Past Posts

  • #Waterroundup for December 5th, 2018

    Wednesday, December 5, 2018

  • #Waterroundup for November 28th, 2018

    Wednesday, November 28, 2018

  • #Waterroundup for November 21st, 2018

    Wednesday, November 21, 2018

  • Water Contamination: The Lead Source

    Tuesday, November 20, 2018

  • #Waterroundup for November 14th, 2018

    Wednesday, November 14, 2018

  • Wildfires, Water and the West

    Monday, November 12, 2018

  • #Waterroundup for November 8th, 2018

    Thursday, November 8, 2018

  • Plastic Bottles vs. The Smart Faucet

    Thursday, November 8, 2018

  • #Waterroundup for October 31st, 2018

    Wednesday, October 31, 2018

  • Newark Water Crisis

    Wednesday, October 31, 2018

  • Drink Water to Help You Lose Weight

    Tuesday, September 18, 2018

  • Official Tern Water Press Release: 5% Healthy Water Initiative

    Monday, July 23, 2018

  • Water Main Breaks and Floods Center City Philadelphia

    Monday, July 23, 2018

  • Scott Mazo at Healthy Philly

    Friday, July 20, 2018

  • Philly Water Startup can help Elon Musk bring healthy Water to Flint

    Wednesday, July 11, 2018

  • #waterroundup for July 6, 2018

    Friday, July 6, 2018

  • The Product Development Cycle of the Smart Faucet: Test, Optimize, and Test Some More

    Friday, July 6, 2018

  • #waterroundup for June 29th, 2018

    Friday, June 29, 2018

  • Tern's Work for Healthy Water Never Stops

    Friday, June 29, 2018

  • Tern's Benchmarks for Water Quality

    Wednesday, June 27, 2018

  • Spotlight on Infrastructure: California

    Monday, June 25, 2018

  • #waterroundup for June 22nd, 2018

    Saturday, June 23, 2018

  • Tern Visits the Advanced Manufacturing Show in New York

    Friday, June 22, 2018

  • From our Friends at PiperWai: Activated Charcoal, What Is It and What Does It Do?

    Tuesday, June 19, 2018

  • Why I Believe in Water for Good Health

    Monday, June 18, 2018

  • #waterroundup for June 15th, 2018

    Friday, June 15, 2018

  • The Growing Smart Home Market

    Wednesday, June 13, 2018

  • Spotlight on Infrastructure: Miami

    Monday, June 11, 2018

  • #waterroundup for June 8th, 2018

    Friday, June 8, 2018

  • It Happened in Hinkley

    Wednesday, June 6, 2018

  • Know Your Contaminant: Chromium-6

    Monday, June 4, 2018

  • #waterroundup for June 1st, 2018

    Friday, June 1, 2018

  • What's the Deal with Raw Water?

    Wednesday, May 30, 2018

  • #waterroundup for May 25th, 2018

    Friday, May 25, 2018

  • Know Your Contaminant: Lead

    Thursday, May 24, 2018

  • On the EPA and the National Leadership Summit

    Wednesday, May 23, 2018

  • #waterroundup for May 18th, 2018

    Friday, May 18, 2018

  • Spotlight on Water Infrastructure: New York City

    Wednesday, May 16, 2018

  • The waterroundup for Friday, May 11

    Friday, May 11, 2018

  • The waterroundup for Friday, April 20

    Friday, April 20, 2018

  • How water data can help entire communities live healthier lives

    Thursday, April 5, 2018

  • A Conversation with the Water Department

    Wednesday, March 28, 2018

  • Health Benefits of Water, In Honor of World Water Day

    Wednesday, March 21, 2018

  • Healthy Water at the "Point of Use"

    Tuesday, March 13, 2018

  • How to Make Sure Water From Our Kitchen is Safe to Drink

    Thursday, March 8, 2018

  • Lack of Water Awareness is a Growing Problem, and We’re Fixing That

    Monday, February 26, 2018

  • Tern Water reply to statements made by the Philadelphia Water Department

    Wednesday, February 14, 2018

  • Cape Cod, You Can Now Test Your Water Quality!

    Thursday, December 7, 2017

  • PA, Get Your Water Turbidity Tested!

    Tuesday, November 21, 2017

  • Tern Launches Know Your Water

    Thursday, October 5, 2017

  • Alexandria’s Flood

    Tuesday, July 18, 2017

  • Tern Water Announces Partnership with Cross Properties.

    Tuesday, July 18, 2017

  • There’s Something in the Water: The Betrayal of a Municipal Water System

    Tuesday, July 18, 2017

  • Water for the Modern Age

    Tuesday, November 29, 2016

  • Background Information

    Friday, January 1, 2016

  • Tern Standards, Accuracy, and References

    Friday, January 1, 2016