No amount of lead should be allowed in our drinking water
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Did you know that until recently, “lead-free” meant that plumbing products, including those used for faucets, could actually contain up to 8% lead?
This was the law until 2011, when Congress finally passed a statute—the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act—to lower the amount of lead that’s allowed in these products to .25%.
This is unacceptable. Lead is a potent neurotoxic chemical for which there is NO safe level of human exposure. The Environmental Protection Agency is only now updating its “fixtures rule,” which governs the amount of lead that manufacturers can use in pipes, faucets and various products that you’re likely to have in your home—and it’s taking public comments through May 17.
As the large-scale lead-in-water crises in Washington, D.C., and Flint have made clear, one of the main routes of exposure to lead is through drinking water. If we want to prevent this, we have to get lead out of our water systems from beginning to end.
Prolonged exposure to lead is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease and reduced fertility, and government scientists have concluded that lead is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. The reported number of children poisoned by lead around the country is staggering and the effects are long-term. In young children, elevated blood lead levels are associated with irreversible loss of IQ along with diminished academic abilities and problem behaviors.
Lead exposure disproportionately impacts low-income communities and communities of color, as has been documented by the Centers for Disease Control and in numerous cities and states, such as Chicago and Massachusetts.
Tell the EPA that no amount of lead should be allowed in our drinking water. “Lead-free” pipes and fixtures need to be certified to show they don’t leach lead.
The updated EPA rule would remove the requirement for manufacturers to certify that their products do not still leach, or seep, lead at unsafe levels. Even small pieces of a pipe or fixture can leach substantial amounts of lead into your water if they aren’t lead-free. Lead leaching depends on a variety of factors, including the way a component was manufactured—just looking at the average lead content isn’t enough. In reality, a few poorly manufactured components in the wrong place is all it takes to cancel out the benefits of making the rest of your system “lead-free.”
We can no longer allow any lead to poison our water and our communities. Tell the EPA to get lead out of our water so that families will never again be forced to deal with the lifelong consequences of lead exposure.
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