When it comes to water supply in the United States of America, it is tainted with lead. Lead in tap water has been the case from the time of its foundation, it is vital that you are aware that lead is poisonous. Presence of Lead can cause serious poisoning to an individual.
Lead is quite toxic to your living tissues which include; the heart, the kidneys, and the nervous system. It’s able to affect the nervous system of children and cause a permanent neurological damage. The harmful effect of lead is so severe; that it’s able to cause physical and behavioral problems even in small amounts.
However, there are controversies when it comes to the exact amount of lead that is able to cause serious effects to your body. As a result, it is vital that you ensure you lessen the exposure of lead in your tap water.
Sources of Lead in Tap Water
- Water leaving a treatment plant- it is important that you ensure water leaving the treatment plant is free of lead.
- Components made of lead leaches lead to your water. This is mainly seen in copper tubing, where its joint is made of lead when the copper corrodes, the lead will start to leach into your water.
- Fluxes that were used to prepare a joint for the fusion was usually fat-based or it had poisons which with time leached into your water supply.
- Soldering of 50/50 percent that is 50% lead and 50% tin. Each and every single coupling, every elbow and tee is welded with lead. With this combination, soldering and making of solid joints become not only possible but it’s also easy. Therefore, making you have a lot of exposure to lead.
- Faucets are another source of lead, with the old government regulations faucets could have up to a quarter a pound of lead. It is therefore important that you check with the manufacturer of the faucet or of the fixture that you intended to install in your home. This is to confirm that the lead content is minimal or zero.
Comparison between the lead solder and lead-free solder
The solder is able to heat faster and cools much slower when you compare it with the new lead-free solder, which was introduced in the year 1986. Such solder requires more skills for you to be able to use them. The lead-free solders have more leaks, improper joints and are more dangerous in using a torch inside it as fire spread is a big concern.
The lead-free solders have low amounts of lead, 0.2% is the allowed limit for lead. Despite its low amount, it’s able to make a solder flow much better. The 50/50 solder is still available in the market; this is for uses other than for drinking water systems. They are quite popular with electricians and electronic companies.
In the vent that you have copper tubing, its installation being before 1986; you are more likely to have joints that have 50/50 solder. The lead will eventually leach into your water because of corrosion especially in areas where there is a low mineral content in water, or in case your water is acidic.
Copper piping’s that are soldered with 50/50 are bound to be more than 20 years old. Thinning due to corrosion would have taken place in your piping system; it is, therefore, wise for you to repipe your house in order to avoid cases of flooding. You will have old piping system developing pinholes; as a result, having lead solder is not the only reason as to why you ought to replace your copper tubing.
In case you are do not know how old your copper tubing is, have the joints tested for the presence of lead content, you can also have parts of the tubing checked to see their integrity. In the event that you are not able to afford the replacement of your faucets; water filtration systems that are specifically designed to be able to remove lead and similar metals present in your water are what you need.
Water filtration systems are able to treat your tainted water. This system requires a periodic maintenance; it will become ineffective in case you do not have maintenance done regularly. Another effective method is the Reverse Osmosis Systems; although water from this system is considered unhealthy as it does not have any mineral content in it.
Note that, filtered water passing through a lead faucet is able to increase the chances of lead leaching into your water. If you are using filtration to remove the presence of lead, ensure that your water does not pass through an old faucet and onto your lips.
To conclude, water comes from the treatment plants and into your home. The water will have passed through copper tubing and the soldered joint to your fixtures or faucets. Most of the lead present in tap water is due to the faucets laden with lead and the soldered joints. The solution for you is to replace the older tubing with lead-free models and then filter the remaining contaminants.