Published: May 17, 2018

    Hundreds of Homes in Chicago Tested Positive for Dangerous Levels of Lead

    The general American public has become increasingly aware of the dangers lurking in their public drinking water systems following reports around the country of contaminated water. Lead, which is considered one of most dangerous and potentially lethal water contaminants, has been plaguing Flint for years and continues to surface in more and more cities around America.

    Chicago residents, taking advantage of free water testing kits offered by the city, have learned that their water is not meeting the limits established by the Food and Drug Administration. According to the Chicago Tribune over 70 percent of more than 2,700 homes that have had their water tested in the past two years have found lead in their water. 30% of those tests found lead exceeding 5 parts per billion, which is the FDA limit.

    As our readers probably know, a wide array of long-term health problems is associated with consuming lead. Children and infants are particularly vulnerable to suffering irreversible effects from lead. High levels of lead in the body can cause nerve disorders, developmental disorders, hearing loss, cognitive impairment, cardiovascular issues, and a lower IQ score. Lead is toxic even in trace quantities. You can learn more about the history and health effects of lead on our education page.

    Lead and the city of Chicago have a storied history – the city actually required that all service lines that connect residences to water mains be constructed of lead. This law was in effect for a century until Congress deemed it illegal in 1986.

    Families that live in Chicago may have heard that the mayor, Rahm Emanuel, has borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars in order to completely revamp the city’s waterways. While this is cause for celebration, the initiative does not include the act of replacing lead service lines. Ignoring the lead pipe problem that is causing these dangerous levels of lead seems self-defeating at best.

    In fact, the city’s official position is that the lead service lines are not their problem. While cities like Boston, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh have begun work on replacing aging lead pipes the city of Chicago has no such plan. According to administration officials it is up to each homeowner to decide if replacing the lead pipes is worth the trouble. Homeowners are expected to pay for the expense themselves if they want safe drinking water.

    When asked why the city is not engaging in an effort to remove lead service lines, the Department of Water Management issued a short statement that simply said the department “continues to take a proactive approach to mitigating lead in our water system” and that they are “continually evaluating additional methods of lead mitigation.”

    The Chicago Tribune drew attention to residents who have outfitted their homes with state-of-the-art water filtration systems after being alarmed at their water test results. Safeguarding your home in Chicago with a lead filtration system is crucial if you are concerned about your water quality.

    Pelican Water offers many lead water filters that can effectively reduce this dangerous contaminant. A Drinking Water Purification System will filter lead at a rate above 98%, and reduce other common contaminants including viruses and bacteria. Lead poisoning is serious – take your family’s health into your own hands.