If you’re like most people, when you drink a glass of water, you probably don’t think whether the water contains lead and how it can affect your health. In fact, even a small amount of lead can cause severe damage if the contamination isn’t stopped. That’s why the EPA has established that the maximum containment level for lead in drinking water is zero. 

Unfortunately, the threat of lead in water continues to be a problem in just about every water system as there are several methods in which lead can invade a water supply. Here are some of the common health issues from lead in water and how a high-quality water softening system can help correct this problem.

Nervous System Damage in Infants and Young Children

The populations most at risk for lead contamination are fetuses, infants and young children. Just a small amount of lead exposure can cause significant damage to a child’s central and peripheral nervous system. This can result in hearing impairment, stunted growth, impaired blood cell functioning, learning disabilities and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

A fetus can suffer from lead exposure when lead is released from the bones of a pregnant woman. This is even more likely when a woman has a lack of dietary calcium. When lead crosses the placenta barrier, it exposes a growing fetus to lead, which can cause severe health effects for both the mother and her fetus. Some of these include premature birth and a fetus not developing as it should.

Stroke, Cancer, Hypertension, Kidney Disease and Memory Loss

Adults are also at risk for contracting certain health conditions when drinking water with lead contamination. Usually, they’re unaware of lead in their drinking water because lead is tasteless, odorless and lacks color.

Drinking an excessive amount of lead can make adults more likely to suffer from certain health problems. These conditions include those, such as stroke, cancer, hypertension (high blood pressure), kidney disease and memory problems.

Recognizing Symptoms of Lead Poisoning

Because high levels of lead can be in the blood of someone who appears to be healthy, detecting lead poisoning can be challenging. Usually, the signs of lead poisoning aren’t obvious until there’s a dangerous amount that has already accumulated.

Some of the common symptoms of lead poisoning in kids, include learning problems, developmental delays, appetite loss, weight loss, irritability, vomiting, constipation, abdominal pain, hearing loss, fatigue and sluggishness. In severe cases, even seizures can occur.

As for signs of lead poisoning in adults, the symptoms may include high blood pressure, headache, muscle and joint pain, memory problems and abdominal pain. In women, having a miscarriage or giving birth prematurely can suggest lead poisoning, while for men, a reduced sperm count can be a sign.

How Lead Gets in Water

Roughly 20 percent of lead exposure comes from drinking water. Alarmingly, infants consuming mainly mixed formula can receive from 40 to 60 percent of lead exposure from drinking water. There are several ways lead can get into your drinking water. One of the main sources is from corroded household plumbing systems. Another way is from the erosion of natural deposits.

Lead can leak into water from solder, pipes and brass faucets and fittings. How much lead can depend on factors, such as the amount of time water remains in pipe and the degree of mineral content in water. Other factors can be water temperature, its acidity and the amount of wear and tear on pipes.

The Importance of Getting Your Water Supply Tested

Getting your water tested is the only way you can know for sure if your water supply contains lead since lead lacks color, odor and taste. If lead is found, you’ll need to have a reverse osmosis (RO) water filtration system installed, which can remove several types of impurities and contaminants. You don’t have to wonder whether or not your water supply contains lead. Please contact us for a free water test.