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Apr 12, 2016

Lead Testing Has Favorable Results In Lansing

The Village of Lansing continues to be proactive in the testing of our water and providing long-term thinking in the way of infrastructure. 

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, may have you asking, "Does my home's water contain lead?"

It's possible. The Environmental Protection Agency says between 10% and 20% of our exposure to lead comes from contaminated water. It's even worse for the youngest and most vulnerable: Babies can get between40% and 60% of their exposure to lead by drinking formula mixed with contaminated water.

Lead "bio-accumulates" in the body, which means it stays and builds up over time, so ongoing exposure, even at extremely low levels, can become toxic. While the EPA says you can't absorb lead through the skin while showering or bathing with lead-contaminated water, you certainly don't want to drink it, cook with it, make baby formula with it or use it to brush your teeth.

Just like in Flint, lead can enter your home when lead plumbing materials, which can include faucets, pipes, fittings and the solder that holds them all together, become corroded and begin to release lead into the water. Corrosion is most likely to happen when water has a high acid or low mineral content and sits inside pipes for several hours, says the EPA.

While homes built before 1986 are the most likely to have lead plumbing, it can be found in newer homes as well. Until two years ago, the legal limit for "lead-free" pipes was up to 8% lead.

As of January 1, 2014, all newly installed water faucets, fixtures, pipes and fittings must meet new lead-free requirements, which reduces the amount of lead allowed to 0.25%. But that doesn't apply to existing fixtures, such as what is found in many older homes and public water suppliers.

We have gotten a few calls regarding this issue and our response is : "The EPA requires a lead and copper test every 3 years and in September of 2014 (30) Lansing homes were sampled and all samples came back within safe limits. " 

Many experts suggest that parents get their child's lead level tested at ages 1 and 2, and possibly more often, depending on the area of the country. The test is easily done by a pediatrician, or at a local state, county or city department of health.

The most effective and most expensive lead removal method is to replace the leaded components in the plumbing system with newer, non-leaded components. This procedure most often involves replacing copper pipes and lead solder with plastic PVC or PEX pipes. Only plastic PVC or PEX pipes approved for home plumbing use, as indicated by "NSF-61” or “NSF-PW appearing on the side of the pipe, should be used for replacement.

Replacing home plumbing components will be effective only if the source of the lead is within the home plumbing system. If the lead originates from lead service lines within a public water system, this method may be of limited benefit. However, the Village of Lansing continues to take proactive steps with our infrastructure development and have had all of our internal and audited tests come back favorably.