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Lead Pipes: Health Consequences, History, & How to Replace

Lead Pipes: Health Consequences, History, & How to Replace

Finding lead in your home can be alarming, especially since lead pipes are not common in houses anymore. To protect the health of your family, it’s important to be familiar with how to identify lead pipes behind your walls or ceiling. In addition, it’s critical to be aware of the negative health consequences and history of lead pipes to ensure you are familiar with ways to respond to the problem.

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History of Lead Pipes in the U.S.

Plumbing has been around for many decades. In 1829, the first plumbing system was created and soon became a prototype for commercial and residential properties across the U.S. Lead pipes have been used since the invention of plumbing because they are stable, durable, and malleable. The versatility and affordability of this type of pipe made it a popular contender for the makeup of plumbing systems. However, lead has been found to be a serious health hazard in homes and has been replaced by copper and PVC pipes. Unfortunately, some houses still have lead pipes in them, which can be dangerous for infants, young adults, and senior citizens.

Lead Pipes: Health Consequences, History, & How to ReplaceAre There Lead Pipes In Your House?

Even though the 1986 Safe Water Drinking Act prohibited new plumbing materials from containing any lead, lead still can be found in pipes and water. If your house was built before 1986, may have lead pipes behind your walls or floors. Unless you know for sure that the pipes in your house have been replaced since 1986, it might be a good idea to check if they are lead. You don’t need to tear down any walls or dig anything up for this—simply take a look at the pipes under your kitchen sink.

They are usually dark gray and soft. If you’re not sure, it’s best to call a licensed plumber to help you out. Another thing that can help you out is going through your Consumer Confidence Report. This is a water quality report that goes out to each water customer by July 1 every year. If you don’t own the space you live in and are renting, you can contact your local water utility to get this information. Lead can also be present in soldering, fittings, and fixtures to connect plumbing pipes. Although lead has been prohibited in new homes since 1986, lead water pipes were common throughout the 1980’s.

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Health Consequences of Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning is a very serious issue. It affects different age groups differently. If children are exposed to lead, it can negatively impact the development of their nervous system, leading to lower IQ, learning disabilities, impaired growth, anemia, behavioral problems, and hearing impairment. For adults, exposure to lead water pipes can lead to increased blood pressure or hypertension, kidney failure, and reproductive issues. Pregnant women with lead poisoning could impair fetal development and lead to premature growth.

Lead Pipes: Health Consequences, History, & How to ReplaceLead Piping Might Not be an Immediate Health Threat

Lead pipes should be replaced as soon as possible if you discover them in your walls. If you find lead pipes on your property, there are some things you can do to manage the risk of contracting lead poisoning while you wait to get them replaced. First, ensure that all water used for cooking or drinking is filtered. Your best bet for high-quality, contaminant-free water is using a filter that meets NSF/ANSI Standard 53. Along with strong filtration, running the tap before using the water can help eliminate lead.

Water that has been sitting stagnant for a while in lead water pipes might have a higher concentration of lead. So, running the water for a few minutes could reduce the amount of lead in the water you use. Warm water also contains higher lead levels—so when it comes to drinking and cooking only do so with cold water. Even though it isn’t eco-friendly, drinking only bottled water will also help spare you from lead poisoning. Of course, if you suspect that you have been exposed to lead, contact a health provider to figure out the next steps.

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Water & Sewer Line Replacement & Repair Services in West Chester, PAPlumbing & Water Treatment Services

If you need to hire a plumber inspect your sewage and water pipes, give our team a call by phone at (484) 206-8594 to schedule an appointment. Our technicians are committed to keeping you safe from lead poisoning and will perform an inspection of your pipes. Once we discover deteriorated pipes behind your walls, we will replace them with copper and PVC pipes. We offer water pipe and plumbing repair services to households in areas of Pennsylvania such as Drexel Hill, Newton Square, Ardmore, and West Chester. In addition, we offer maintenance services for inefficient sump pumps and water heaters. To receive help with a broken pipe, give our team of plumbers a call by phone. We are certified professionals with years of experience in all things plumbing and sewer related.