FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 6, 2004) – Kentuckians enjoy some of the best and safest drinking water in the nation. News about the levels of lead in the drinking water in our nation’s capital, as well as other locations around the country, has alarmed people recently. Ongoing testing of drinking water systems in Kentucky shows that all have levels that are well below the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) action level, according to the Kentucky Division of Water.
Drinking water is not the only way for a person to be exposed to lead. It is present in some old paints, and it used to be a gasoline additive. Inhaling dust that contains lead or ingesting paint chips are other ways to come in contact with it.
Lead is a problem particularly for infants and young children. Exposure to high levels of lead can result in delays in physical or mental development. For adults, it can result in kidney problems or high blood pressure.
Although the main sources of exposure to lead are ingesting paint chips and inhaling dust, EPA estimates that 10 to 20 percent of human exposure to lead may come from lead in drinking water. Mixing infant formula with water that contains high levels of lead significantly increases the exposure for infants.
Water that comes from your drinking water system is safe from high levels of lead; however, the water in your home could still contain unsafe levels. The source of lead in your home's water is most likely pipe or solder in your home's own plumbing. The most common cause is corrosion, a reaction between the water and the lead pipes or solder.
To reduce any possible exposure to lead in your drinking water, take these simple steps:
- “Flush" your cold-water pipes by running the water until it becomes as cold as it will get. This is necessary any time water has been sitting in the pipes for an extended period of time (six hours or longer).
- Use water only from the cold water tap for drinking, cooking and mixing baby formula. Hot water is more likely to have higher levels of lead.
For more information about lead in drinking water, see this EPA Web site: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead/leadfacts.html.