whats in your water jl

Understanding Potential Water Diseases and Lead Poisoning

Feb 4, 2016 Homeowner Tips

If your home is like most, it probably has a water supply coming from a public source. With the recent news of Flint, Michigan’s contaminated-water crisis, we thought it would be important to share with you some information on potential diseases lurking in contaminated water, and how you can tell if your water supply is unsafe.

Contaminated Water Overview

 The United States maintains high public water standards through governmental channels, the Environmental Protection Agency, and annual testing. Here are some general facts on water quality in the United States:

  • The U.S. enjoys one of the world’s safest sources of public drinking water
  • Over 150 public water systems provide drinking water to over 286 million Americans
  • Public water systems may be publically or privately owned
  • About 10 percent of Americans rely on water from private wells
  • Public water quality is regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), passed in 1974
  • Public water suppliers are required by law to deliver an annual consumer report on water quality

Potential Disease in Public Water Supply

As Aforementioned, public water in the U.S. is safe, safer than the water in the majority of the world, but occassionaly contimants find ways to infiltrate water systems exposing us to potential disease. Risk of contracting any disease is higher when using a private water source, such as a well, unregulated by the SDWA. Here are some of the more common diseases found in water systems, and how they can affect you.

  • Giardia – A diarrheal illness caused by the microscopic parasite Giardia intestinalis. It is most often contracted through bathroom surfaces, changing tables, and diaper pails. Anything that comes in contact with feces is at risk of contracting the parasite.
  • Legionella – A type of bacteria found in fresh water and grows best in warm water found in large plumbgin systems, hot tubs, decorative fountains, and hot water tanks. It is transmitted orally through respiration of droplets. It can also be transmitted via aspiration of drinking water, but this is less common. Most people infected with Legionella do not become ill, but if you think you have contracted it, contact your healthcare provider.

Lead Poisoning

Lead is a toxic metal. Swalling substances with lead in it, such as paint, water, and dust can have serious health consequences. In the home, lead can be found in old pipes that connect to main water lines and be transmitted into the water. Lead poisoning can affect every organ in the body, and especially have a negative impact on the nervous system and brain. Those at risk, include:

  • People living or visiting homes built before 1978 — often have lead-based paint.
  • Children under six-years old. Children at this age commonly put fingers in their mouths, sometimes swallow non-food items, and have rapidly developing brains
  • People who drink from pipes soldered with lead
  • Eating food from cans made with lead solder
  • People living in highly-polluted areas

According to WebMd, 10-20 percent of childhood lead poisoning is caused by contaminated drinking water. If you’re unsure if there is lead piping in your home or if you have lead-based paint, have an inspection and test done by a certified laboratory. For Michigan testing click here.

Unsafe water, broken sewage lines, and other water hazards can affect your home, and your health. J&L Restoration delivers prompt service to the greater Lansing area and can assist you with all of you water damage needs. Contact us here.

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