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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00002626/00001
 Material Information
Title: Lead A Menace If In Drinking Water
Physical Description: Fact Sheet
Creator: Peart, Virginia
Publisher: University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1995
 Notes
Acquisition: Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
Publication Status: Published
General Note: "Publication date: September 1995. First published: October 1988."
General Note: "HE 3229"
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the submitter.
System ID: IR00002626:00001


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FactSheetHE3229 TheInstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciencesisanequalopportunity/affirmativeactionemployerauthorizedtoprovideresearch,educational informationandotherservicesonlytoindividualsandinstitutionsthatfunctionwithoutregardtorace,color,sex,age,handicap,ornational origin.Forinformationonobtainingotherextensionpublications,cntactyourcountyCooperativeExtensionServiceoffice. FloridaCooperativeExtensionService/InstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciences/UniversityofFlorida/ChristineTaylorStephens,DeanLeadAMenaceIfInDrinkingWater1 VirginiaPeart,Ph.D.2Wehavephasedoutleadedgasolineandbanned theuseofleadinhousepaint.Bloodleadlevels declinebymorethanathirdbetween1976and1980 andthetrendhasbeencontinuing.Yetlead continuestofinditswayintoourbodies,especially fromwaterthatpassesthroughleadplumbing materials.Leadcancomefromoldleadservicepipes andwatermains.Homesmorethan80yearsoldmay alsohaveleadorlead-alloypipes.Morecommonly, butlessseriousistheformeruseofleadsolderto joincopperpipes.Ithasbeenestimatedthatnearly oneinfiveAmericans,inallpartsofthecountry drinkswaterwithleadlevelsconsideredexcessiveby theEnvironmentalProtectionAgency.THEPROBLEMElevatedlevelsoflead,whichishighlytoxic,can damagethenervoussystem,blood-formingprocesses, kidneysandreproductivesystem.Childrenand fetusesareatgreatestrisk.Chronicexposuretolow dosesofleadmaycauselearningandbehavioral disordersandstuntedgrowth.Manyoftheseeffects havebeenknownthroughtheages.Somehistorians claimthefallofRomewasdueinparttotheuseof leadpotsandplumbingbytherulingclasseswhich mighthavebeenresponsibleforinfertilityandmental disorders.WHATISBEINGDONE?AsofJune19,1988federalandstate governmentsweretostarttocompleteseveral importantactionsdesignedtocarryouttheleadban imposednationwidebytheJune1986Amendmentsto theSafeDrinkingWaterAct. 1.Requirethatplumbingfordrinkingwaterinnew residentialpropertymeetthelead-banlimitsto qualifyformortgageinsuranceorotherassistance fromtheU.S.DepartmentofHousingandUrban Development(HUD)andtheVeterans Administration(VA). 2.Allstatesmustenforcetheleadbanthroughstate lawsoramendedbuildingcodes;allpublicwater systemsthatarenot``leadfree''mustnotifytheir customersofthehealthdangersofleadin drinkingwater;andsolderusedininterstate commercemustprominentlydisplayawarning labeladvisingcustomersaboutleadlimitsfornew andrepairedplumbing. 3.The1986AmendmentstotheSafeDrinking WaterActprohibittheuseofanypipefittingthat hasmorethaneightpercentlead,andanysolder orfluxthatcontainsmorethan0.2percentlead. 1.ThisdocumentisFactSheetHE3229,aseriesoftheHomeEconomicsDepartment,FloridaCooperativeExtensionService,InstituteofFood andAgriculturalSciences,UniversityofFlorida.Publicationdate:September1995.Firstpublished:October1988.Reviewed:September 1995. 2.VirginiaPeart,associateprofessor,Housing,HomeEconomicsDepartment,CooperativeExtensionService,InstituteofFoodandAgricultural Sciences,UniversityofFlorida,GainesvilleFL32611.

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LeadAMenaceIfInDrinkingWater Page2Thisbanappliestonewinstallationsandrepairs ofpublicdrinkingwatersupplysystemsand residencesandotherbuildingsconnectedtosuch systems.(Fluxisajelly-likesubstancethatmakes applyingsoldereasier.)Althoughtheleadban appliestoentiredrinkingwatersystemsfrom reservoirstoprivateresidences,themortgage assistancerequirementappliesonlytoplumbing in newly-constructedresidentialproperty .Thelatter includesmulti-familydwellingsaswellassinglefamilyhomes. 4.Allstatesmustenforcetheleadbanthroughstate lawsoramendedplumbingorbuildingcodes,or otherappropriatemeans.(Sofar,Floridaisone offifteenstatesthathavenotdonethis.) 5.Watersupplysystemsthatarenot``leadfree'' weretonotifytheircustomersofthehealth dangersofleadbyJune19,1988.Ifastatefails toenforcethesystem-widelead-in-plumbing limitsorthecustomer-noticerequirement,EPA maywithholduptofivepercentofthatstate's federalgrantforadministeringthepublicwater supplyprogram. 6.Also,beginningJune19,1988,solderusedin interstatecommerceandhavingaleadcontent exceedingthe0.2percentlimitmustprominently displayawarninglabelsayingthatitsuseinany privateorpublicdrinking-watersystemis prohibited.TheU.S.ConsumerProductSafety CommissionhastoldEPAitwillhelpstates enforcethisrequirement. AlthoughCongresspassedthislawmandatingthe useofonly lead-free solderondrinkingwatersystems innewhomesin1986,anationwidesurveyshowsthat mostnew-homebuyersareunawareofthelegislation. Further,only21percentofthesurveyrespondents hadinsistedonlead-freeplumbingintheirnew homes,thoughmostacknowledgedandunderstood theimmanentdangerofleadinwater. TheSafeDrinkingWaterActAmendments, enactedJune19,1988,willhelptoprotectconsumers fromthehazardsofleadcontaminationofwater supplies.However,thelegislation doesnotdecrease theneedforconsumerstobeknowledgeableonboththe issueandthelaws .Forexample,theActmandates thattheHousingandUrbanDevelopmentAuthority andtheVeteran'sAdministrationmay not insureor providefinancialassistancefornewly-constructed residentialpropertieswhosewatersystemsarenot lead-free.WHATCANYOUDO?Ifyouareconcernedaboutlead(whichis odorlessandusuallytasteless)inyourwater,you shouldhaveyourwatertested.Thesampleshouldbe takenatataptoincludeleadthatmaycomefrom yourplumbing.Youcanaskyourwatersupplierif yourwateriscorrosive.Ifso,itcanpickuplead fromthepipesorsoldermoreeasily.Yourwater supplierorlocalhealthdepartmentmaybewillingto testyourwaterorrecommendaservicethatwill. Ifyoudohaveleadinyourwater,orsuspectthat youmay,herearesomestepsthatwillbelesscostly thanchangingyourplumbing: Runwater3to5minutesthefirstthinginthe morningorafterseveralhoursofdisuse.This willflushoutwaterthathasbeeninlongcontact withlead. Don'tusehottapwaterforcookingorpreparing babyformula.Hotwaterdissolvesmorelead thancold. Newplumbingorrepairsshouldmakeuseof0.2 percentleadsolder.Althoughold8percent solderwasbannedinJune,1988,theremaybe somestillaround. Watertreatmentdevicesmaynotbetheanswer. Charcoalfilters willnot removelead.Only reverseosmosisfiltersarerecommendedbyEPA forleadremovalandtheyareexpensive,usealot ofenergyandcanbedifficulttomaintain.REFERENCESEnvironmentalNews .June16,1988.Environmental ProtectionAgency. WellnessLetter.3:7.UniversityofCalifornia, Berkeley.April1987. NutritionWeek.XVIII:25.CommunityNutrition Institute.June23,1988.