We wanted to use this event as a platform to inform you about how you can detect lead in your water and how to protect yourself from it.
Due to its incredibly malleable and stable properties, lead has historically been used for many household items such as lead-based paint, plumbing, piping and private well infrastructure. The dangers of lead ingestion were only discovered in the late 1970’s when medical professionals saw a connection between lead-based products and the symptoms of lead poisoning. It was only then that the use of lead was banned in construction. However, most of the lead piping that had already been installed before that date was never fully removed. This is how many of us can be at risk. Below you will find some useful information about lead, the danger it presents, where it can come from, and how to protect yourself from it.
The Dangers of Lead Ingestion
If lead is ingested, it can be extremely harmful to your health. Lead exposure is particularly dangerous to young children because their developing brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead exposure. According to the World Health Organization:
“The neurological and behavioral effects of lead [are] reduced intelligence quotient (IQ), behavioral changes such as shortening of attention span and increased antisocial behavior, and reduced educational attainment, and they are believed to be irreversible.”
Where Lead Comes From
Lead is a naturally-occurring element that is toxic if ingested. It has been used in a wide variety of products, most notably pipes, plumbing materials, and solders. Lead solder is basically the metal that was melted down to connect the pipes in your home, and prevent them from leaking. When we ingest lead through our water supply, it can cause serious and sometimes irreversible health problems.
How Lead Gets In the Drinking Water
Lead can absorb or “leach” into the water on its way from the original water source to your faucet. “Leaching” is a natural process by which water-soluble substances (like lead, calcium, or fertilizers) are absorbed by water from pipes, soils, or other materials. The two main sources are the pipes and plumbing in your home, and using a private well for your water supply. Lead contamination typically occurs after treatment, while in route to your home.
Pipes and Plumbing in Your House
Aging infrastructure—most importantly piping and plumbing systems—are the main contributor of lead in today’s water supply. If you live in a home or apartment building that was built before the 1980’s, there is a possibility that you still havelead solderconnecting your copper pipes.
The lead from these pipes can find its way to your faucet as the water absorbs the substances in its path. The amount of lead from the plumbing system that may be dissolved depends on several factors including pH, water temperature, the age of the plumbing, water quality and standing time of the water in the plumbing system.
Private wells more than 20 years old may contain lead in the “packer” element that is used to help seal the well above the well screen. Some brands of older submersible pumps used in wells may also contain leaded-brass components. Corrosion of pipes and fixture parts can cause the lead to get into tap water.
How You Can Protect Yourself
The only way that you can tell if there is lead in your drinking water is to test it. There are a number of tests to identify lead including the PurTest Lead Test Kitand the WaterCheck Test Kit.
If you detect lead of other contaminates in your drinking water, it is important to try to identify and remove the source of the contaminate. If you are unable to remove the direct source, you must filter the lead out of the water through point-of-use systems. A point-of-use system typically requires installation under your sink.
To remove the lead from your drinking water, you need to employ a water treatment method such asreverse osmosis, distillation, or carbon filters specially formulated to remove lead. These methods are used to treat water at only one faucet, in which you can use a single filter. For whole house protection an ion exchange water softener is effective.
In short, lead contamination can pose serious health risks, and we do not recommend you relying on chance. It is best to get your water tested, and go from there. For more information on lead and other water contaminates and how to protect your drinking water from them, visit our site at FreshWaterSystems.com.
When disaster strikes, boiling water is not enough
Across the country “Boil Water Advisories” have been popping up with an alarming frequency. Their sources are crumbling water infrastructure, chemical spills, and effects of local fracking, causing thousands of people a year to boil water in an attempt to sanitize it.
The main benefit of boiling water is killing viruses and bacteria that have found their way into the water supply, though this does not remove them or any chemicals within. If complete purity is desired, the only method is water distillation. When water is distilled it is evaporated into steam and then separated from its original location, leaving behind all bacteria, viruses, chemicals, and sediments. This steam is then condensed in a new clean location where it is ready for drinking. Is it possible you are at risk of a water contamination?
Even as you read this, people are suffering from sporadic water contaminations in every state. As of this writing, there were 6 counties that went on a “Boil Water Advisory” within a 24 hour period. Without proper distillation equipment, these people will be forced to drink improperly treated boiled water or pay hundreds of dollars for disposable bottles of water.
In 2014, West Virginia was home to a horrible chemical spill that left 300,000 people without clean drinking water for days. Since this was a chemical spill, simply boiling the water was not advisable. The relatively few people who owned home water distillers were able use their water without concern for contamination.
With the number of contaminated water incidents on the rise, having a reliable water distillation system is a smart move to keep your family safe.
Keep harmful chemicals and organisms out of your water with a high quality home distillation system from FreshWaterSystems.com
Is rainwater safe to drink? Using ultraviolet, UV light, can be used to design your very own rain water harvesting system that disinfection drinking water for your home or business.
The gathering of rain water for human needs is as old as civilization itself. With the current trend towards sustainability, you may be interested in the ways that rain water might be “harvested” as an alternative to relying solely on municipal resources. For the homeowner, rainwater harvesting can range from simply collecting water in a barrel for taking care of plants to a full-fledged independent water supply for washing and even drinking. But is water from the heavens safe to drink?
In general terms, rainwater is distilled by nature in the evaporation cycle and so it comes down free of most contaminants and additives like chlorine. But as it travels through the air and comes in contact with surfaces such as roof tops and gutters it will pick debris and biological contaminants. In most cases these are minimal and can easily be managed. For example, you can use a first-flush diverter that catches debris from the roof in a trap before the clearer water flows into your barrel.
That’s all well and good for garden-use or washing cars, but protecting your family from harmful microorganisms requires proper disinfection of the rainwater. Long-used by well-water owners, an ultraviolet (UV) water disinfection system is a chemical-free way to ensure that your water is safe from biological contaminants.
The water is disinfected by light of a specific wavelength as it passes through a stainless steel chamber. Nothing is added to the water, but any microorganisms present will be rendered harmless. Rainwater is naturally soft and so will not require a softener, although some “polishing,” or added filtering, may be desirable for taste and ultimate particle removal. In fact, the newer, high-quality UV systems often come equipped with both a sediment and carbon filter for just that purpose, which makes installation all the easier.
Maintenance is also easy – just an annual lamp change. It is very important to note that UV lamps do not “burn out” before they lose disinfecting properties, so changing them on schedule is critical to maintain water safety.
Drinking plenty of clean water every day can bring big improvements to your health. Unfortunately, even well-treated municipal water may still contain too many dangerous contaminants. If you’re a big user of bottled water, you should know that reverse osmosis is actually one of the main methods used by big-brand bottlers to purify their water.
Drinking plenty of clean water every day can bring big improvements to your health. Unfortunately, even well-treated municipal water may still contain too many dangerous contaminants. These can include dissolved metals and toxic chemicals. An inexpensive reverse osmosis (RO) filtration system will significantly reduce water contamination and completely filter out all natural and synthetic toxins, microbes, debris and minerals, as well as chemicals like arsenic, chlorine and THM’s.
If you’re a big user of bottled water, you should know that reverse osmosis is actually one of the main methods used by big-brand bottlers to purify their water. A home RO system will give you high-quality purified water that tastes great, and you can stop wasting money on water in plastic bottles that contribute to environmental problems.
This month Fresh Water Systems is having a special purchase promotion on one of our most popular complete 4-stage RO Systems.It’s easy to install and filter change is literally a snap.
Is your commercial ice machine producing low quality ice that is cloudy and discolored? Learn what factors affect smell and color of ice cubes along with how to use a water filtration system to improve it.
Some people believe that when they get an ice machine all they have to do is plug it into the water line and let it go. Some ice makers are designed to be plug-and-play like that, but is setting up an ice maker directly off of the municipal tap water lines the best idea? Will you get the clearest and best quality ice from that ice machine? The answer is no.
Truth is, while each municipality has measures in place to filter out the contaminants that you find in tap water, water can pick up additional contaminants, chemicals, and even bacteria as it travels through the pipes to get to your location. Some of these contaminants include minerals from pipes. Of course it’s not bad for you, since it is safe tap water, but there’s a really good chance that it needs to be filtered again before it gets made into ice.
Without a filtration device on your lines, the water that goes into your ice machine is going to be the same water that leaves your tap, filled with minerals from the travel and chemicals from the treatment plant.
Doesn’t the ice making process get rid of chemicals and minerals?
Yes, the process of making ice does get rid of some particulates that are in tap water. As ice freezes, some of the heavier particles fall out of the ice. A good quality ice machine will have a way to remove these so scale doesn’t build up.
However, there are other contaminants that stick around. These can give your ice a foul taste and an off-color. Furthermore, unfiltered water accelerates the development of scale and buildup in the lines outside of the machine, reducing the efficiency of the ice machine.
Think about the contaminants in the unfiltered tap water like debris in a hallway. This debris is large enough to slow you down, but not large enough to completely stop the works. By removing the debris from the hallway, you’re able to walk down it unencumbered. The same process works for a commercial ice machine: with fewer particles to get in the lines, the more productive and efficient the machine becomes.
While there is some natural filtration with the condensing and evaporating process, filtering water is not the machine’s purpose. It does not specifically focus on the elimination of contaminants like an ice filter will. This means that the chlorine and other off-flavors have the potential of making it through to your ice.
The filtration of water before it enters the ice machine significantly increases the production of the ice machine, along with both the freshness and clarity of the cubes which are produced. You should install a water filter on your lines to ensure you can get the best ice you can. Clear, tasty ice means a positive customer service experience, as well as less wear and tear on your ice machine.