As per the regular operational testing for our Water System, the Town of Cecilton found elevated levels of lead in drinking water in some homes/buildings. No lead was found in the Town’s water distribution system and facilities. Random water samples were collected, and the positive lead tests are typically a result of aging and/or the types of plumbing in these homes/buildings. As an example, homes with Lead pipes or fixtures, or where copper pipe has been soldered with solder containing lead. Lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Please read this information closely to see what you can do to reduce lead in your drinking water.
Health effects of lead
Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys and can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body. The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children. Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults. Lead is stored in the bones, and it can be released later in life. During pregnancy, the child receives lead from the mother’s bones, which may affect brain development.
Sources of lead
The main sources of lead exposure are lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust or soil, and some plumbing materials. In addition, lead can be found in certain types of pottery, pewter, brass fixtures, food, and cosmetics. Other sources include exposure in the workplace and exposure from certain hobbies (lead can be carried on clothing or shoes). Brass faucets, fittings, and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free,” may contribute lead to drinking water. EPA estimates that 10 to 20 percent of a person’s potential exposure to lead may come from drinking water. Infants who consume mostly formula mixed with lead-containing water can receive 40 to 60 percent of their exposure to lead from drinking water.
Steps you can take to reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water
- Run your water to flush out the lead. If water hasn’t been used for several hours, run water for 15 – 30 seconds or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature before using it for drinking or cooking.
- Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula. Lead dissolves more easily in hot water.
- Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead levels.
- Look for alternative sources or treatment of water. You may want to consider purchasing bottled water or a water filter. Read the package to be sure the filter is approved to reduce lead or contact NSF International at 800-NSF-8010 or www.nsf.orgfor information on performance standards for water filters.
- Test your water for lead. Call us at [insert phone number for your water system] to find out how to get your water tested for lead. [Include information on your water system’s testing program. For example, do you provide free testing? Are there laboratories in your area that are certified to do lead in water testing?]
- Get your child tested. Contact your local health department or healthcare provider to find out how you can get your child tested for lead, if you are concerned about exposure.
- Identify if your plumbing fixtures contain lead. Brass faucets, fittings, and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free,” may contribute lead to drinking water. The law currently allows end-use brass fixtures, such as faucets, with up to 8% lead to be labeled as “lead-free.” Visit NSF International’s Web site at www.nsf.org to learn more about lead-containing plumbing fixtures.
Lead was detected above the maximum contaminate level (MCL) in one residential sample causing the 90th percentile of samples collected to exceed the 90th percentile regulation.
The Town of Cecilton is committed to ensure your water is safe to drink and operates the water system to minimize lead and copper. Currently, the Town is determining the best solution to optimize corrosion control treatment to reduce lead levels in homes in the community.
For more information, call us at 410-275-2692, or visit our web site at www.ceciltonmd.gov. For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home/building and the health effects of lead or having your water tested please visit EPA’s Web site at www.epa.gov/lead or contact your healthcare provider.