Doing a lead water test is extremely important because lead can cause numerous health problems if consumed at high levels. Lead is highly toxic and has no beneficial purpose or use for humans, so it must be completely eliminated from drinking water. Even a tiny concentration of lead can cause a variety of health issues.
To ensure your safety, it is recommended to get lead water tests conducted on a regular basis, especially if your home has lead pipes or plumbing fixtures that could lead to contamination. At Aqua Vue, we offer a UKAS certified laboratory lead water test as part of our essential water testing package. This test contains 36 parameters in total, and also checks for other harmful chemicals such as Arsenic, Uranium and Mercury.
By doing a lead water test on your drinking water, you can maintain peace of mind knowing that you and your family are not exposed to life-threatening levels of lead in your home environment.
What are the health risks and symptoms associated with lead poisoning?
Lead poisoning is a serious and sometimes life-threatening condition that can lead to numerous health problems. The primary source of lead exposure is lead-based paint, as lead remains in the environment from past lead-based paint used in homes and other buildings built before 1978. It was only in the 1970s that lead-based paint and lead piping was banned in new build homes.
In addition, contaminated soil and lead dust are potential sources of lead exposure as well.
Lead poisoning can cause abdominal pain, anaemia, cognitive difficulties, infertility (both men and women), behavioral changes, slowed growth/development, hearing loss, seizures, as well as damage to organs such as the kidneys. As a scientist myself, I know that we have been trained to recognize such signs and symptoms since our university days.
Lead is particularly dangerous if children are exposed to it in their early development since this can have a profound impact on their IQ. It is well known that lead exposure can lead to a depressed IQ, stunted growth, and learning difficulties if the exposure continues over a prolonged period of time.
Ultimately, conducting regular lead water tests at home can help detect dangerous lead levels in drinking water due to outdated plumbing systems or inappropriate disposal of other lead-containing products e.g. paints. Such water tests will ensure that water quality stays safe for consumption.
What to do if your lead water test results come back positive?
If your lead water test results came back positive, it is important to take quick action. Unfiltered lead can lead to serious health risks, as mentioned above.
Here is what we would advise you to do:
- Contact your water company to inform them of the positive lead water test result.
- Water companies are required by law to perform their own lead water testing and to replace any lead piping that falls under their jurisdiction.
- They should replace all the lead piping from the water filtration center, to the border of your property.
- Unfortunately, they will not replace any lead piping inside your home, as you are responsible for this.
- Look for any lead piping inside your home.
- Watch the below video which explains the best way to look for lead pipes inside your home.
- Essentially, lead pipes tend to be unpainted and dull grey in colour. Lead may often be found behind a false plaster cover leading up to the bathroom or under the kitchen sink.
- You can perform the scratch test by slightly scratching the surface of the pipe. This will feel soft and reveal a shiny silvery underneath if the pipe made out of lead. Watch the video below which shows you how to do this and remember to wash your hands afterwards!
- Run the tap for at least 30 seconds before consuming cold water if it has not been used for 6 hours or longer. This is especially important to do overnight.
How to prevent lead poisoning in your home
Prevention is better than cure.
– Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus
Lead poisoning can lead to serious medical conditions and long-term health problems so it is always best to prevent getting the bad health effects in the first place. To proactively protect against lead poisoning in your home, it is important to regularly test the lead content of your water supply.
Although there are a lot of different home test kits for lead, the most reliable way is to send a water sample off to a lab and we offer a range of products on our tap water testing page. All our samples go straight to a UKAS certified lab that will provide you with a certified report of your water contents.
You never know what you are actually buying with the self test kits as you can’t actually test it against a positive control. As you can see in the reviews below for a product with a high number of reviews, some of the reviews are shocking. I know personally, I wouldn’t rely on such a water self-testing kit to protect myself from lead in the water.
Another important part is to periodically inspect walls, floors, ceilings, and window sills in the home for peeling paint, chipping wallpaper, and other lead-containing fixtures that may lead to contaminated airborne particles. If any of these are present, the best next step is to bring in a professional who can safely remove these safety hazards.
Taking these steps can ensure the health of you and your family from lead poisoning.
It really is now more important than ever to take charge of your own health and make sure your tap water is not actually causing you more harm. If you have any questions or require advice on the best lead water test, we would be happy to advise you.