Alert: Unsafe Lead Levels In NJ Hospital Water
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In February 2017, Englewood Hospital in NJ sent out a letter to all patients who had spent time in the hospital during the past one and a half years (from 9/3/15-1/12/17), to offer patients free blood lead level testing to determine whether they had been effected by the excessive lead levels in the hospital’s tap water.
The letter stated that lead levels in the tap water at the hospital exceeded the Federal Action Level of 15 parts per billion. In fact, 10 different areas in the hospital exceeded the Federal Action Level, and two areas exceeded 100 ppb. The water at the physical therapy gym had shocking lead levels of 1206 ppb! That’s more than 80 times federally accepted levels.
How Could This Happen?
The letter from Englewood Hospital explains that the hospital normally would use its own well as a water source. When the hospital switched from their well water source to the city water, provided by SUEZ Water, the lead levels in the water shot up significantly.
So why did lead levels increase so dramatically?
SUEZ Water, like many other water providers, uses chloramines to disinfect the water. While chloramine works as a disinfectant, this chemical can also dissolve lead that has built up in pipes over time, releasing it into the water.
Changes in water treatment and disinfection practices can substantially undermine lead corrosion control (60). In the mid-1990s in the District of Columbia (DC), high levels of free chlorine were used to decrease coliform bacteria in water, a process that inadvertently changed the type of lead mineral coating in the water lines to one with very low solubility in the background pH of the DC drinking water. When the free chlorine was replaced with chloramines, the transformed highly insoluble lead scale minerals were no longer stable and dissolved. Therefore, a substantial level of lead was released from the lead service lines into drinking water at the tap (61).
What This Means for Homeowners Everywhere
Whether you are a homeowner whose water comes from SUEZ Water or anywhere else, you should learn about the effects chloramine can have on the lead levels in your water, as this chemical is commonly added to city water.
- According to the NIH (National Institute of Health): “In some water systems [the switch from chlorine to chloramine] has coincided with an increase in lead in drinking water, perhaps because chloramines cause lead to leach from pipes, fixtures, and solder.”
- WHO (World Health Organization) states: “Lead is a cumulative toxicant that affects multiple body systems and is particularly harmful to young children…There is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe.”
- The Allegheny Front recently published a study stating that: “Lead Exposure may Impact Several Generations.”
In the most recent water report released by SUEZ Water, the city water provider for Englewood, NJ and thousands of homes and businesses in norther New Jersey, the lead levels in the water registered at 13.9 ppb. While the Federal Action Level is 15, a level of 13.9 is certainly not anywhere near the safe lead level for your water: zero.
And SUEZ Water is certainly not the only water provider reporting levels this high.
According to many studies spanning decades, even low levels of lead exposure can have permanent adverse health effects, especially for children. Some of the documented adverse effects of lead on human health include:
- Profound and permanent adverse effects on the brain and nervous system
- Increased risk of high blood pressure
- Increased risk of permanent kidney damage
- Cause of miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, or low fetal birth weight
WAVE Home Solutions Protects Your Health and Home from Lead, Chloramine, and More
The bottom line is, you should filter chloramines, lead, and other harmful chemicals from the water coming into your home. To do this, you will want to install a whole house filtration system that will remove these contaminants from all of the water coming in to your home.
The WAVE Home Solutions’ City Supreme filtration system uses enhanced, state of the art purification media to remove both chloramines and lead, in addition to other potentially dangerous contaminants, from your home’s water. Contact us today for additional information or assistance in choosing the best home water filtration system for your house, health, and family.
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