Finding lead in your water is a rare occurrence across the UK, as lead pipes where replaced with copper in the 1970s. However due to lead use in soldering in can still occur. In this article we tackle the issue in-depth, explaining how lead may enter our water supplies, what effect it can have on your health, and what you should do if you become concerned about the potential of lead contaminating your home or business building's tap water.
- Lead contamination can occur due to corrosion of old pipes that supply drinking water to buildings
- Although lead pipping is rare across the UK, some pipes are fitted with lead based solders
- Consuming levels of lead above 0.01 mg/litre can has a negative effect on your health
- if you find lead in your drinking water you should contact your local authority as soon as possible.
Why does my tap water contain Lead?
If your household our workplace was built before 1970, there is a chance that your water may be supplied through lead pipework. Problems associated with lead contamination in drinking water do still occur however, where there is corrosion on pipes that do contain lead in the piping itself or due to the fact that some pipes are fitted with lead based solders. This can be a problem particularly where water has been held within a space over a course of several hours. For this reason most instances of this type of contamination occur during morning hours, or after a building has sat unused for a time period, such as business offices over a weekend.
Lead and your health
Below 0.01 mg per litre lead is considered safe to consume by Anglian Water. If your tap water has levels higher than this then your water company are legally obliged to replace the pipes in your building. This is becase consumption of lead at levels just above the recommended amount has been linked to several sever health problems such as the slowing of mental and physical development in young children.
Even more concerning is that If you’re consume lead at higher levels over a long period of time it is known to cause significant damage to the brain, red blood cells, and kidneys and even with only short term exposure, can lead to elevated blood pressure levels.
What should you do if you discover Lead in your water?
The problem with this contaminant is that you can’t see, taste, or smell lead within your water. Indicators you can look out for include whether your building is using an old lead pipe systems that are our that the system supplying water is in poor condition.
If you have reason to believe this is the case at home or at work then you should contact your water supplier or local authority immediately.