Lead is a chemical component that has been used in a number of products. It has been used in gasoline, paint, batteries, pipes and even cosmetics.
These problems are not of the past, they are affecting our society to this very day. But not all areas, are affected the same.
In recent years there have been more and more stories about Canadians being affected by the lead content in their water supply, with Quebec residents’ blood testing higher for lead than anywhere else in Canada.
In 2019 the Institute of Investigative Journalism found that 58% of water samples they acquired from around Montreal had lead levels that exceeded Canadas’ drinking water standards. This is over twice as much as Flint, Michigan, in 2015 where it was found in only 25% of their samples.
Lead in drinking water
We have known that lead is unsafe for many years now, and if you’ve been living in Montreal then you’ve probably had enough exposure to it for it to have an effect on your health. Lead is no joke, and it can stay in your blood for over 25 years after exposure.
Lead pipes were used many years ago, and were put to an end in the early to mid 1900s when the Canadian National Plumbing Code restricted its use for plumbing.
Why were lead pipes used for water? They were the cheapest option, iron was more expensive. But lead pipes were also easier to bend- soft enough to form shapes that allowed the water to move easily through the pipes and around existing structures. Lead is easy to weld and it’s rust-resistant, an added bonus for water pipes. What wasn’t accounted for was the corrosion of lead pipes overtime, even though they are rust resistant, due to the chemicals in the water.
The ongoing issue in areas, such as Montreal, is that although the continued production of lead piping was banned, the pipes still existed and needed to be replaced. Many houses built in the 1940s up to the 1970s were built with lead pipes, which now fall under the ‘private section’, and these were originally said to be the homeowners responsibility to change.
With the city’s plan to replace pipes in the public section by 2030, it just isn’t quick enough, and that is only for the public section. As mentioned above, for homeowners, it has been said it was your responsibility to replace them, but around 2019 the mayor of Montreal (Valérie Plante) came out and said that the city will take up the responsibility of changing pipes in the private section, leaving homeowners indebted to the city for up to 15 years, to allow residents to pay.
Unfortunately this is a very expensive process that many cannot afford, and in some cases it might require residents to evacuate the property until the pipes have been replaced. In the meantime, as the city replaces pipes in the public section, more problems may arise. Only fixing the public section and connecting new copper pipes to old lead pipes in private sections can substantially increase the corrosion of the lead pipes. Potentially tripling lead content into drinking water supplies.
But how do you know if you have lead pipes in your home? It helps to know what year your house was built in or if it has been rebuilt and/or when your property first got water service. Find the shutoff valve for your house or building, it could be in the basement or outside. If the pipes are lead, they will be a grey color and if scratched with a screwdriver or sharp knife there will be visible lines etched into the pipes. Lead pipes are also not magnetic and have a flat sound when tapped, unlike copper which echoes.
Lead can leach from pipes and contaminate the water supply. It can also accumulate over time and cause health problems. There are several ways to reduce the risk of lead exposure from water:
- Use lead-free plumbing materials when renovating or repairing your home.
- Flush your taps for 30 seconds before using the water, especially if the water has been sitting in the pipes for more than six hours.
- Have your water tested for lead, especially if you have young children or are pregnant.
- Use high-quality WQA certified home filters.
How does lead in water affect the body?
Lead poisoning isn’t always very obvious because it is created through microbial contaminants, which are very particles. In most cases you’ll actually need to have your blood levels tested to know that it’s in your system. But this does not mean it isn’t serious!
Even just a small amount of exposure is too much. Studies have shown that lead poisoning affects intellectual development- a lower IQ and learning difficulties, as well as behavioral shifts, especially in children- hyperactivity and disruptive social behavior.
Children and infants under 6 years are most at risk of lead poisoning, mostly because they are more likely to ingest lead through sharing of food or water, and they tend to put things in their mouths out of curiosity and learning- even when supervised.
Children under 6 absorb higher amounts of lead into their blood than adults do. Some symptoms that may develop in children over time: stomach pain and constipation,
- hearing loss,
- and a reduced IQ, as mentioned above.
Symptoms in adults could be:
- Kidney damage,
- Fertility issues,
- Memory loss,
- Struggle to sleep,
- Muscle and joint pain,
- Increased blood pressure,and many others.
Of course, a single symptom doesn’t mean that you have lead poisoning, but if you start to notice a shift in your health with other symptoms presenting themselves, it is likely that you have poisoning.
How to protect yourself from lead-contaminated water?
It is hard to know where the lead pipes end and begin and whether or not the water entering your pipes has strictly gone through new pipes, but we have a solution to this problem!
At Survivor Filter our aim is to help you have the best and cleanest water possible coming out of your taps. Water that you feel safe enough to let your children, parents and grandparents drink.
We understand that water is a fundamental human right and there is an ever-growing need for clean and drinkable water. So we have used revolutionary technology to create home water filter systems that are the only ones on the market proven to remove 94% of fluoride and 99,9% of other contaminants that are typically found in municipal water, like lead and other heavy metals! All while leaving in the good stuff- the essential minerals we need from water, unlike most R.O. systems.
With our easy-to-install home filters you can drink clean, odorless water for up to 2 years (or up to 8,000 gallons) which is 5 times longer than our competitors.
Installing this filter doesn’t even require hiring a plumber, you can easily do it yourself within 10 minutes, and they can be attached to any faucet in your house.Our filters are carefully made in the USA, so we can confidently say that they are of excellent quality. Because of that, we offer a lifetime warranty- if we can’t fix it, we will replace it for you!
And if you’ve purchased our products and are unsatisfied then you have 60 days, after purchase, to get a full refund.
You are probably here because you already know that your water is a problem, so why not take it a step further and ensure the safety of your household.