If the piping system in your home is made of lead, then there is a good chance that you and your family are consuming lead as you take in water that passes through these pipes. Your children in particular are at a high risk of lead exposure since children tend to consume more water to boost their developing bodies. According to research, around 20% of lead exposure in children is due to waterborne routes. Lead is a highly toxic metal, and a high exposure to it may result in organ failure, convulsions, neurological damage, or even death. To protect yourself and your family at home from the dangers of lead, you should run some tests on the water you are using.
How Do You Test Water For Lead?
You can test water at home for lead using home testing kits. One example of the kits is the Watersafe City Water Test kit you can find at your local stores or online. In this kit, you will find a dropper pipette, a test vial, a desiccant and two test strips.
- Place two droppersful of your water sample in the vial using the dropper.
- Swirl the vial for some few minutes and place it on a table or a flat surface.
- Place the two strips inside the vial (arrows on the strips should point down)
- Wait for around ten minutes for blue lines to surface on the strips (do not touch the vial or the strips during this time)
- Remove the strips and lay them on a table with the arrows on the strips pointing to the left.
You should be able to see some lines (blue lines). If you can only see the left line, which is next to the number 1 on the strip, then your test for lead is negative. The results are also negative if the left line is darker than the right one.
If you can only see the right line, which is next to the number 2, then you have positive results. The results are also positive if the right line is darker than the left, or if both lines are equally dark. But if no line appears, you did not carry out the test correctly and you need to repeat. Note that the strips will have sections numbered 1 and 2 where the lines will appear.
How Do You Minimize Lead Intake In Your Home?
The best course of action that will minimize lead intake in your home is replacement of the lead pipes. And if you are not sure if the piping system in your home uses lead metal, there are simple tests you can run to find out. For instance, you can try to scratch the pipe with a key. If a scratch develops, then the pipe may be lead. Another test is to stick a magnet on the pipe; magnets are not attracted to lead pipes. In terms of appearance, lead pipes have a dull gray color.