Padre Dam’s system had a 90th percentile value of 1.3 ppb for our water system, below the lead action level of 15 parts per billion.
What Does This Mean?
Under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set the action level for lead in drinking water at 15 ppb. This means utilities must ensure that water from the customer’s tap does not exceed this level in at least 90 percent of the homes sampled (90th percentile value). The action level is the concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements which a water system must follow. If water from the tap does exceed this limit, then the utility must take certain steps to correct the problem. Because lead may pose serious health risks, the EPA set a Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) of zero for lead. The MCLG is the level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.
What Are The 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.
What Are The Sources of Lead?
The primary sources of lead exposure for most children are deteriorating lead-based paint, lead-contaminated dust, and lead-contaminated residential soil. Lead is found is some toys, some playground equipment, some children’s metal jewelry, and some traditional pottery. Exposure to lead is a significant health concern, especially for young children and infants whose growing bodies tend to absorb more lead than the average adult. Although your home’s drinking water lead levels were below the action level, if you are concerned about lead exposure, parents should ask their health care providers about testing children for high levels of lead in the blood.
What Can I Do To Reduce Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water?
Although our test results were below EPA’s action level, you may still want to take steps to further reduce your exposure.
- Run your water to flush out lead. If water hasn’t been used for several hours, run water for 30 seconds to 2 minutes (depending on the size of your home and distance from the furthest fixture to the meter) to flush lead from interior plumbing 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.
- Do not boil water to remove lead.
- Identify and replace plumbing fixtures containing lead.
For More Information
Should you have any questions or want further information call us at (619) 448-3111. For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home and the health effects of lead, visit EPA’s Web site at www.epa.gov/lead, call the National Lead Information Center at 800-424-LEAD, or contact your health care provider.