Know Your Water: First Draw

May 15, 2018

Do you know what is in the water your children are drinking? Young children are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of lead that can be found in contaminated water. They can suffer profound and permanent adverse health effects, particularly affecting the development of the brain and nervous system. An easy way to prevent this is by checking your water to make sure it is free of contaminants before giving to your children!

Many are accustomed to watching water crises play out at a safe distance while unaware that there is a strong chance they too are chronically ingesting harmful metals from 'first draw' water. This is because metals like lead and copper can leach into water left sitting in plumbing for even a few minutes, increasing the likelihood of contamination in the first glass of water you drink from the tap in the morning. The longer water sits in the pipes, the more lead it can have. To reduce the amount of lead in drinking water, the EPA recommends flushing your pipes before drinking if a faucet has not been used for at least six hours. You can flush the water in the pipes by running the water until it gets cold, anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. (To reduce lead levels, the EPA also recommends using only cold water for drinking, cooking and making baby formula as hot water will likely have higher levels of lead.)

According to the EPA, there is no safe level of exposure to lead. Elevated levels of lead can harm the brain, kidneys, nervous system and red blood cells with young children and pregnant women at greatest risk. Since you cannot see, taste, or smell lead dissolved in water, testing is the only sure way of telling whether there are harmful quantities of lead in your drinking water. Most water systems test for lead at a certain number of homes as a regular part of water monitoring. These tests give a system-wide picture of whether or not corrosion is being controlled but do not reflect conditions at each home served by that water system. Since each home has different plumbing, pipes, and materials, test results are likely to be different for each home. Our personal water tester, the TestDrop Pro, can efficiently detect the presence of lead in your water so you can be sure of conditions in your own home. For more information or to place an order click here.

To read more about Lead and your drinking water, click here.