LEAD IS IN THE NEWS AGAIN…
This time the news is coming in from Flint, Michigan where lead tests in young children (and others) shows elevated blood-lead levels. Lead in drinking water (and food) has been associated with a wide variety of mental as well as physical disorders. The extent of the physiological damage depends on the actual blood-lead level and the individual’s susceptibility.
The immediate crisis in the municipal water supply of Flint appears to be caused when the water municipality switched from Detroit water to the Flint river a couple of years ago, as a money saving effort. The water from the Flint river is much more corrosive than the Detroit water supply which come directly from Lake Huron. This led to unforeseen health consequences which the citizens of Flint are suffering today.
The EPA has set the level of concern and action for lead in consumable water at 5 parts per billion. The lead level in the Detroit water is 2.3 ppb. The lead level in Flint’s water when they were getting it from the Flint river was 27 ppb…more than 5 tmes the level of concern. Every neighborhood in Flint experienced higher levels of lead than was acceptable. At its highest, the level of lead in Flint tap water was an unbelievable 158 ppb !! No wonder the citizens of Flint, a community of about 100,000, were up in arms when they first learned of this.
Doctors measure blood-lead levels in micrograms per deciliter of blood.(ug/dl) With levels as low as 10-15 ug/dl, low attention spans and IQ deficits have been noted. At 30-40 ug/dl, cognitive damage is seen as moderate in children who may experience learning and growth problems. In adults elevated levels of lead cause high blood pressure and kidney damage as well as cardiovascular and neurological problems. The EPA has reported the even normal blood lead levels (6-20 ug/dl) in pregnant women, can complicate pregnancies and cause problems for newborns. According to experts, the elevated lead levels in water are not a safety concern for those showering or bathing in it, but there is certainly some risk, especially for those bathing in old enameled bath tubs. (The glazes used in many of those older tubs and some even today contain lead compounds.)
Lead in tap water is rarely caused by the natural occurrence of lead in the source water, but rather by the corrosiveness of the water. The aggressiveness of the water causes it to dissolve small amounts of lead from plumbing and plumbing fixtures.
The Flint water department went back to using water from Detroit last October but unfortunately, much damage has already been done to the water infrastructure and it will be difficult to reverse. The damage done to those who drank this water is also pretty much irreversible. The problem now is what is the best way to deal with this lead problem? Unfortunately the issue has become very emotional and quite political, with plenty of blame to go around regarding the bad decisions that were made a couple of years ago.
The biggest disappointment and anger is that the citizens of Flint were not informed of the lead problem when it was first discovered! Pointing fingers now will not fix the problem. Repairing and replacing the lead plumbing will be very expensive and time consuming. It is probably better to deal with the effect rather than correct the cause…at least for the immediate future. Providing bottled water is a temporary quick fix but what about the inconvenience and cost. There is a better way to address this issue and that is with a point of use solution right in the people’s homes.
First of all let me warn you that there is a lot of false information floating around out there. Filter manufacturers would like to have us believe that carbon filters can remove lead from water but this is only partially true. Granulated carbon filters do not remove lead from water. While carbon block filter can remove small amounts of precipitated lead or lead residues, they do not remove dissolved lead, which is the real danger.
Contrary to popular belief, water conditioners, while they do a great job of removing lighter metals such as calcium and magnesium, and to a lesser degree iron and manganese, they do not remove lead or most other heavy metals.
While lead can enter our bodies by inhalation (breathing) and dermal contact (through our skin) to some degree, here we are most concerned about the water that we consume. That is the most prevalent means of entry into our bodies and the one easiest to deal with. What is the best way to remove lead from the water we consume?
Reverse Osmosis is somewhat effective but steam distillation provides a higher level of purity and is much more consistent over the long haul. Distillation is also favored when it comes to widely varying contamination levels and various other conditions that vary such as water pressure and temperature. Removal rates of lead (and most other contaminants) very close to 100% are most common. Distillation gets the lead out and is definitely the way to go.
SUMMARY: We live in a toxic world, and you DON’T know what toxins are in your water. The people in Flint, MI learned this the hard way, and unfortunately, the health effects from the lead that their family was exposed to could be irreversible. The best thing to do for your family is to have a water distiller in your home and to ONLY consume pure water, all the time. We recommend the AquaNui Water Distiller (click here) for every day use. Of course, the Survival Still is also excellent at removing lead from the water (click here).