Lead is a naturally occurring heavy metal found in all parts of the environment – air, soil, and water – and has been used for centuries in the manufacture of a wide variety of products including ceramics, pipes and plumbing materials, gasoline, batteries, ammunition, and cosmetics. Prior to 1986, the majority of drinking water infrastructure – interior and exterior pipes, fixtures, and solder – was lead-based.
Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, which was passed by Congress to protect public health by regulating the nation’s public drinking water supply and its sources, municipal water systems in the U.S. routinely test and treat water for a wide variety of contaminants, including lead.
But as recent news stories have illuminated, lead and other contaminants can pollute clean municipal water as the water travels through the aging infrastructure to the faucet. With this increased public awareness about the dangers of the aging infrastructure, employees are more literate about what could possibly be in their drinking water and are seeking clean, filtered water in the workplace.
Should You Worry About Lead in Your Drinking Water?
Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA has set 15 parts per billion (ppb) as an action level of public water systems for lead, meaning if tests show the level of lead in tap water is above 15 ppb, then it is advisable to take steps to reduce the lead to below the 15 ppb guideline. However, both the EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agree there is no “safe” level of lead as it is harmful even at low exposure levels because lead can bioaccumulate, or build up in the body over time.
When cells in the brain absorb lead, it can affect the frontal cortex which is responsible for abstract thought, planning, and attention. Ingesting high levels of lead can also lead to cardiovascular effects, like increased blood pressure, hypertension, coronary heart disease, and stroke; decreased kidney function; and reproductive problems in both men and women.
How Does Lead Get Into Tap Water?
When water sits in aging lead pipes, like over the weekend or over holidays, lead can leach into the tap water. Lead can also enter the water through corrosion of aging pipes, fixtures, or solders. This can be especially troublesome in older office buildings and schools. The amount of lead that can leach into drinking water is dependent on the type and the levels of minerals in the water, how long the water is in contact with the pipes, and the water’s acidity and average temperature. Water with particularly high levels of lead may leave blue-green stains or have a metallic taste.
You can easily determine if you have lead in your drinking water by having your workplace’s water tested by an independent laboratory. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a list of independent organizations that will test your workplace’s water, with some that allow you to mail in your water samples. Click here to find one near you.
How To Reduce Lead in Your Workplace’s Drinking Water
Quench offers a full complement of filtration solutions to reduce lead in workplace drinking water, including advanced carbon and reverse osmosis filtration. Quench’s Advanced Carbon Filter reduces 99.9% of lead; removes sediment and other impurities up to 1 micron in size; reduces microbial contaminants, like cysts, cryptosporidium, and giardia; and eliminates off-tastes and odors caused by chlorine, sulfides, and other chemicals. Quench’s reverse Osmosis (R/O) filtration system reduces lead up to 99.3% and eliminates chemical and microbial contaminants through an advanced process using a combination of sediment, carbon, and semipermeable membrane filtration.*
Fill out the form above or call 888-877-0561 to speak to a Quench Water Expert about how a Quench filtered water cooler can ease concerns about impurities, like lead, in your drinking water.
*Omnipure Carbon Filter E5515 Certified to NSF 42 and 53 (lead); Reverse Osmosis Systems Certified to NSF 58. Click here for more information. Assumes normal usage, regular preventive maintenance and filter changes.