Lead pipes are dangerous. According to the EPA, they can create a host of unwanted cardiovascular effects, including increases in blood pressure and medically significant hypertension.
Excessive lead can also lead to decreased kidney function and reproductive problems in both men and women. Therefore, removing them from your home is essential.
How Do You Know If You Have Lead Piping In Your Home?
There are two ways to determine whether you have lead piping in your home. The first is to send a sample of water off for lead testing.
Laboratories can tell you how much metal you have in your water supply, indicating whether your home has lead pipes somewhere in the system.
The second is to examine the pipe. If it is silver in color, magnets don’t stick to it, and is soft and easily scraped, then you may have a lead pipe issue.
If you visit TDT’s website, you can read about how lead piping inspections work.
Plumbers will check the material visually, ruling out all other possible materials, to confirm that you have lead in your home. Ideally, you should remove it immediately, and replace it with a non-toxic material, such as PVC, copper, or stainless steel.
Are Lead Pipes Common In Homes?
Lead pipes are surprisingly common in homes, affecting a significant chunk of the population. The NRCD estimates that there may be as many as 12.8 million pipes made of lead spread across the country.
What’s more, many pipes claiming to be “lead-free” also often contain lead.
Why Should You Be Worried About Lead Pipes?
Many people live with lead pipes for years and don’t experience any significant health problems.
However, according to the CDC, even small quantities of lead can lead to a host of health problems. These include:
And that’s just in children. Adults are also at higher risk of chronic disease and mental health issues as they go forwards in life.
What Year Did Installers Stop Putting Lead Piping In Homes?
Many people reading this article would have been alive when it was legal to put lead piping in homes.
Bans only came in in 1986, meaning that three decades later, there are still millions of people who have these pipes in their homes without knowing it.
In some cases, it is not possible for homeowners to eliminate the problem. That’s because the lead is in “service lines” that lead to their properties, not in the property itself.
Do Water Filters Remove Lead?
Fortunately, there are water filters that can remove lead. However, you’ll need to purchase high-quality filters that are specifically designed to remove heavy metal. These will cost you around $70 per year.
While the price might seem high, it is worth it.
Pitcher water filters are generally ineffective at removing lead. They are not certified to do so.
The bottom line is this: you should remove lead at the earliest opportunity. While it might imply an upfront cost, it is often necessary for the health and safety of your family.