Published: June 1, 2016

    More Than 2,000 Water Systems in America Contain Harmful Levels of Lead

    USA Today Network released the findings of a recent investigation that revealed Found in all 50 states, these water systems supply drinking water to homes, schools, daycares, and other vital public centers.

    At least 180 of these water systems did not report the potentially harmful levels of lead to the consumers at risk. During their analysis of the data supplied by the EPA, USA Today Network identified more than 600 water systems containing lead levels above 40 parts per billion, which is double the level required for action to be taken.

    Even at low levels, lead in drinking water poses a serious health hazard, especially for children and pregnant women. The inaction of local administrations in the face of this critical new data is worrisome, and indicative of a larger national problem.

    When over 10% of the samples taken of any water system are identified as containing harmful levels of lead (above 15 parts per billion), the lead standard has been exceeded and “action” must be taken to remedy the problem. However, enforcement of this action is implemented on a state-by-state basis, and is wildly inconsistent and lax across the board.

    Even in larger water systems, the testing of taps is limited and spotty. Large city systems are only required to test 50 to 100 taps per year. This means that results only begin to indicate serious health risks – widespread lead contamination could be occurring in many systems that, due to the taps tested, are verified as “safe.”

    More than 75 million homes in America were constructed before 1980, which means the probability of these homes being outfitted with lead pipes is exceedingly high. Lead service lines and lead plumbing fixtures in homes are typically the main culprits of lead contamination, not the treatment plants from which the water is pumped.

    The Flint water crisis may seem like an isolated problem, but the key factors in the lead contamination in Flint exist in countless cities and areas across the nation. Older lead service lines and lead interior plumbing are the fundamental risk factors in Flint, meaning any location with similar infrastructure issues could face an identical disaster.

    There are more than 7.3 million homes, according the USA Today Network’s findings, at great risk for similar levels of lead contamination. Any home connected to their utility’s water mains by an individual lead service line could be exposed to toxic levels of lead in their drinking water.

    Don’t wait until it’s too late. With Pelican’s various point-of-use lead drinking filters or EZConnect lead & fluoride whole house filters, getting clean water is easier than ever. If you’re concerned about the quality of your drinking water in your home, contact a Pelican Water professional.