Dangers of Lead-Contaminated Drinking Water

Drinking water that contains lead can cause serious health issues. While this fact probably comes as no surprise to some people, many others are relatively uneducated when it comes to the specific issues that come about from drinking water contaminated with lead. They also may not realize that certain populations are particularly vulnerable to lead in drinking water.

Unborn babies, infants and young children are particularly vulnerable when exposed to lead in drinking water. (It should be noted that children can be exposed to lead in other ways, as well.) Further, a dose of lead that might have little effect on an adult could devastate a child.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that a person who is found to have elevated lead levels probably got 20 percent of that lead from drinking contaminated drinking water. The EPA also estimates that infants who drink formula can receive up to 60 percent of their lead exposure from the unclean water they drink.

According to the EPA, there is no safe level of lead in drinking water. The EPA has set the maximum contaminant level for lead in drinking water to be zero. This is because the toxic metal can be harmful to humans even at low levels of exposure. Another issue with lead is that it can accumulate in the body over time.

Lead is a naturally occurring element. It is found in small amounts in the earth’s crust. While lead has its uses, it can be toxic to humans. Most lead exposure comes from human activities including the use of fossil fuels. Lead and lead compounds have been used in a wide variety of products found in and around homes. These include things like batteries, cosmetics, paint, plumbing materials, solders and more. Lead also can be emitted into the environment from industrial sources and contaminated sites.

When lead is released to the air, it may travel long distances before it settles into the ground and then sticks to soil particles. settling to the ground, where it usually sticks to soil particles. Lead may move from soil into ground water depending on the type of lead compound and the characteristics of the soil.

So what are the specific effects of lead on the human body? What follows are a list of some of the significant ones:

Effects of Lead on Children:

  • Anemia
  • Behavior issues
  • Coma
  • Hearing loss
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impaired growth
  • Learning problems
  • Low IQ
  • Seizures

Effects of lead on Adults:

  • Decreased kidney function
  • Increased blood pressure and hypertension
  • Reproductive issues

Pregnant Women:

  • Premature birth
  • Reduced fetus grown

Again, these are just some of the symptoms of lead exposure and there can be many others, as well. Remember, no amount of lead in your drinking water is safe.


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