Lead in drinking water
Naturally occurring lead in water supplies is very low but elevated levels can come from lead in solder, service connections, or pipes and fixtures in the home, especially in older plumbing installations. Lead is more likely to be found in hot water from the tap, especially if the water has been standing in the pipes for a number of hours.
What is the acceptable limit for lead in drinking water?
On March 8, 2019, Health Canada released revised guidelines, significantly reducing the maximum allowable concentration of lead in drinking water from 0.01 mg/L to 0.005 mg/L. This reduction makes Canada’s guideline value for lead in drinking water one of the lowest in the world.
For Municipal drinking water systems in Ontario, like the Kemptville Drinking Water System, the maximum allowable concentration of lead under the Safe Drinking Water Act continues to be 0.01 mg/L.
Is lead found in the Kemptville Drinking Water System?
Since 2010, Kemptville has only had one distribution sample test higher than 0.005 mg/L. The concentration of lead in the sample was 0.0052 mg/L, below the Ontario standard of 0.010 mg/L.
Lead is more likely to be present in the drinking water of older homes and neighbourhoods because the National Plumbing Code of Canada considered lead an acceptable material for use in pipes that bring water to homes until 1975. The most significant source of lead in drinking water is likely to be from lead service lines. These are the water pipes that link the house to the main water supply. Some plumbing parts or fittings, such as solder or faucets or valves, may also contain lead that can leach (seep) into drinking water.
What can I do to reduce my family’s exposure to lead from drinking water?
Run taps for 10 minutes each morning or when you have not used water for a few hours as this will flush through any water that has been sitting in pipes and have been potentially exposed to lead.
Filter drinking water with a home point-of-use system that is CSA or NSF/ANSI 53 (for filters) or NSF/ANSI 58 (RO units) certified to remove lead. These vary from simple jug filters to installing a filter system under your sink or in your refrigerator system. It is very important that these filters are maintained and/or replaced in accordance with the product’s recommended guidelines.
Activities such as bathing, showering, swimming and washing dishes or clothes will not cause a significant exposure to lead. Lead in water is not easily absorbed through the skin or eyes.
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