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Water Quality Association Addresses Frequently Asked Questions about Lead in Water

Article by Water Quality Association

Lisle, Illinois -The Water Quality Association (WQA), an Illinois-based not-for-profit organization, is offering informational resources to help differentiate fact from fiction regarding the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan. The Association has compiled answers to several of the most common questions, while addressing some widespread misconceptions Flint residents may have about lead (Pb) in drinking water.

What are potential health effects from lead?

Lead poisoning often displays no outward symptoms; however, irritability, weight loss, vomiting, constipation, and stomach pain are possible signs to look for. Young children and pregnant women are at the greatest risk, even from short-term exposure. Reduced cognitive development and neurobehavioral deficits are associated with blood levels less than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood in children.[1] Therefore, there is no safe level for lead to be present in the blood of children.[2]Individuals will adsorb more lead if they have poor nutrition than those with better diets.

Can a Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) meter be used to detect lead in drinking water?

No. There have been some misconceptions around TDS Meters. These meters cannotmeasure lead specifically; they detect the conductivity directly related to the concentration of combined total dissolved solids such as minerals, salts and metals. The typical sample of tap water in the U.S. contains approximately 350 parts per million (ppm) of TDS[3], which, as a whole does not on its own indicate a health concern and in many cases is used as a means to enhance taste of water. Lead concentration is found 1000 times lower at the parts per billion (ppb) level, and is too small to be detected without sophisticated instrumentation. Moreover, because TDS meters don’t measure individual ions, lead cannot be detected on its own.

Where can I go to get my water tested?

Water testing should be done be a certified testing laboratory.[4] WQA strongly recommends water testing be conducted at each point of use in accordance with appropriate sampling procedures. The water should be checked after a period of disuse before a specific water treatment product is selected. Water conditions can change, so the water should be tested both before a treatment product has been installed and at regular intervals following installation. Studies have shown the reported levels of lead found in some Flint, MI water results are higher than conditions under which the manufacturer set the replacement recommendations for filters in published manuals. A list of certified labs in Michigan can be found here.

How do I maintain a filter once it is installed?

Always follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions and contact the manufacturer to confirm usage and capacity. To ensure the manufacturer can provide the most accurate recommendations, have test results for lead and iron on hand for review.

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Richland, Washington the Crimes of Hard Water

The City of Richland does a great job keeping the water safe for Richland city Residents. They are required to follow specific EPA standards and have tight budgets to stick to. The Requirements are to keep Haloacetic Acids (a byproduct of the drinking water Chlorination),TTHM’s (Total Trihalomethanes, Byproduct or the Drinking water disinfection),Nitrates(Run off from fertilizer use; Leaching from septic tanks), Copper and Lead at a minimum standard or below a Maximum contaminant level.

Fluoride is not added to Richland city water.

Although Richland does a great job of keeping the water safe, Richland has Very Hard Water and doesn’t always taste that great.

At Soft Water Specialists we have the opportunity to help many different home owners improve their water above and beyond “minimum standards”. The most common issues in Richland we see are: Hard water staining, cloudy dishes, Increased water heating costs, poor laundering results, excessive wear on clothing, excessive soap consumption, pipe scaling, excessive cleaning labor, faucet and fixture deterioration, skin problems, excessive grease accumulation in drains, premature appliance failure, Unpalatable food, and undesirable tastes odors.

Hard water can coat your family your home and your appliances with thousands of pounds of inorganic mineral rock scale each and every year hard water slowly destroys everything it touches. Left untreated, hard water cost you money, ruins your lifestyle and can even lower the value of your home.

Hard water, heavy metals and chlorine are probably the single largest threats facing the American home in the 21st-century. No one needs to tell you that you’re living with hard water though. soap doesn’t lather easily, Glasses are cloudy after washing, a ring forms around the bathtub, faucets and showerheads are crusty, laundry results are poor and there are many other easily recognized signs. We call these “the crimes of hard water”

If you want to LOVE YOUR WATER, Call Soft Water Specialists in Richland WA, 509-845-7638

Message from the EPA

If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young
children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materialsand components associated with service lines and home
plumbing. The City of Richland is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety
of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize
the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or
cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your drinking water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information
on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe

Drinking Water Hotline or http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.