From the Water Quality Association
Lead is a metallic element. It tastes sweet and can enter the human body in different ways. Oftentimes, lead poisoning shows no symptoms. However, signs such as irritability, weight loss, vomiting, constipation, or stomach pain could occur.
The human body can be damaged by ingested lead and the most acute cases of lead poisoning can cause death. Damage to the brain, kidneys, and bone marrow can occur with lower exposures. Coma and convulsions can also be associated with lower exposures of lead. Lead can also damage a person’s nervous system and red blood cells.
Children are more at risk than adults when it comes to the dangers of ingesting lead. Children will absorb 30-75% of the lead they ingest while adults will absorb only 11%. Individuals with the greatest risk, even with short term exposure, are young children and pregnant women. Estimates are, on average, lead in drinking water contributes between 10 and 20 percent of total lead exposure in young children.
Point-of-use/point-of-entry (POU/POE) products are considered to be the preferred method for lead removal, since most lead in drinking water is the result of corrosion in the water distribution and home plumbing system. However, devices and systems currently on the market may differ widely in their effectiveness in treating specific contaminants, and performance may vary from application to application. Therefore, selection of a particular device or system for health contaminant reduction should be made only after careful investigation of its performance capabilities based on results from competent equipment validation testing for the specific contaminant to be reduced.
As part of point-of-entry treatment system installation procedures, system performance characteristics should be verified by tests conducted under established test procedures and water analysis. Thereafter, the resulting water should be monitored periodically to verify continued performance. The application of the water treatment equipment must be controlled diligently to ensure that acceptable feed water conditions and equipment capacity are not exceeded.
Visit WQA.org to locate water professionals in your area. Note that Certified Water Specialists have passed the water treatment education program with the Water Quality Association and continue their education with re-certification every 3 years.
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Typically, pipes bring the water supply from a facility that treats the water to your home or business. A well built and maintained distribution system of pipes helps ensure its quality. Another format to provide water specific for drinking to a home or business would be the installation of a water cooler or the delivery of bottled water.
Raw and untreated water is obtained from an underground aquifer (usually through wells) or from a surface water source, such as a lake or river. It is pumped, or flows, to a treatment facility. Once there, the water is pre-treated to remove debris such as leaves and silt. Then, a sequence of treatment processes — including filtration and disinfection with chemicals or physical processes — eliminates disease causing microorganisms.When the treatment is complete, water flows out into the community through a network of pipes and pumps that are commonly referred to as the distribution system. Approximately 85% of the U.S. population receives its water from community water systems. Community water systems are required to meet the standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).
A well is a strategically placed access point drilled into an aquifer, combined with a pump to withdraw the water and a basic filtering or screening system. Approximately 15% of the US population relies on individually owned sources of drinking water, such as wells, cisterns, and springs. The majority of household wells are found in rural areas. Water quality from household wells is the responsibility of the homeowner.
Bottled water is popular. Studies suggest that half of all Americans drink bottled water from time to time, and about a third consume it regularly. As with tap water, the source of bottled water is usually a municipal water system or a natural spring, and from there it may go through additional purification. As a packaged product, bottled water is regulated under the guidelines of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To find out more, check out www.bottledwater.org.
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