4 Ways to Keep Your Family Safe | How to avoid Lead in Drinking Water

Posted by Adrian Lievano on

Ever wonder what's in our water? With all the noise these days, we can never be too sure. I think most of us can agree that we want the best for our loved ones. It's no surprise that families across the United States are outraged by the failure of many public water utilities because of the recent reports of lead and other harmful contaminants. The trickiest part of all of this? Water that is clear may not be safe to drink

Throughout the United States, more families are concerned about lead in their water. Estimated by the EPA to test high in over 20% of our schools systems, lead and a variety of other unregulated contaminants in water pose a serious health risk to our loved ones. What will we have to worry about next? Will it be lead, or some other dangerous chemical yet to be discovered?  How do we, as households, take charge of our own water? No wonder so many parents are concerned.

WHAT CAN LEAD IN WATER DO TO OUR BODIES?

For starters, it's important that we understand what lead can do to our bodies. Lead is toxic to us all, but particularly dangerous for unborn babies and young children under the age of 6. According to the Mayo Health Clinic, small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems; high amounts can be fatal. Consumed lead typically ends up in our bones. It can then interfere with the production of blood cells and the absorption of calcium, meaning children exposed face particular physical and cognitive development issues. In adults, it can also lead to a decline in mental functioning, memory loss, and a number of other acute and chronic debilitating health effects. So much for that organic milk and Mozart before bed...

Since I was about 4 - at least according to my mom - I always preferred to take matters up on my own hands. When it comes to our health, especially of those close to us, the gloves are off. After starting Everwaters, I learned a lot about water and all of the problems many families face around the world. An astonishing 663 million people face difficulties with contaminated water. After spending two months learning about this issue in Kenya through Everwaters and after returning to the United States to hear that Flint, Michigan was having a water crisis, I couldn't help but think we all could use a little more guidance on making sure we and our loved ones stay safe. 

Here's a short list of free/inexpensive things we can all do today to minimize our risk and exposure to lead in our drinking water. 

(1) Call your water provider!

"Ugh. A phone call?" The simplest way to find out about your water's quality to is call your local provider. Search for your local provider and give them a call. Ask about the water quality in your area and for them to send you a testing report. If something's not right, try tip #2.

(2) Or, test your own water!

There are many ways to test for lead. Here's a simple, inexpensive test strip to check if your water is safe.

(3) If there's lead, find the source!

If there's no lead in your water, be on your way., but make it a habit to check every month or so. If, however, you do find lead, focus on locating the source.

Test your pipes. If you don't find any lead, it could be introduced through the fixtures in your home. According to the CDC, if that's the case, flush out your water before using for about 1-2 minutes. If you find lead in the pipes of your home, flush for about 5 minutes before using it to cook or drink.  

Pay special attention to the temperature of the water: if it comes out warm, don't use it. This typically indicates that the water is heavy with lead. 

(4) Bottled water vs. Water Filters

If you prefer to remove any risk, the CDC recommends using bottled water or water from a filtration system that has been certified by an independent testing organization to reduce or eliminate lead for cooking, drinking, and baby formula preparation. The advantage of certain water filters over bottled water is that  they may also retain the essential minerals, such as fluoride, found in water. 

Lead poses a particular risk for families in the United States. It's important that we take the steps to prevent ourselves and our families from being exposed to lead in water. Instead of worrying about what's in our water, we should be focused on the things that matter: spending time with each other without the risk of one of us getting sick. These are 4 easy steps we can all take to be a little safer. Be sure to spread the word.

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