Lead is a heavy metal that can harm human health, especially for children and pregnant women. Exposure can cause several health problems, including learning and behaviour problems, delayed development, hearing loss, anaemia, high blood pressure, reproductive problems, and cancer.
Lead can enter the body through the skin, lungs, and digestive system. It can build up in the body over time and even low levels of exposure can be harmful. There is no safe level for lead exposure. Testing for lead in drinking water can help highlight issues with old pipes, lead-based solder, and lead-contaminated soil and help reduce a source of this issue.
Drinking Water Lead Level Recommendations
In the UK, DWI recommends that the lead concentration in drinking water should not exceed 10 µg/L. Different authorities have varied acceptable levels, US EPA have an action level of 15 µg/L in more than 10% of customer taps sampled. However, even low levels of lead exposure can be harmful. Please check your local government agency for further information.
Contact your local water utility if you are concerned about lead in your drinking water. They can test your water for lead and provide information about reducing your exposure to lead.
Lead Detection Methods
There are several methods used to detect lead in drinking water. The most common methods include:
- Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP/MS): ICP/MS is a highly accurate method that can measure lead concentrations in water at very low levels. However, ICP/MS is a laboratory-based method, meaning samples must be sent to a laboratory for testing. For further information follow this link.
- Anodic stripping voltammetry (ASV): ASV is a portable method that can generate accurate results in the field. ASV is not as sensitive as ICP/MS, but it is a good option for regularly testing water samples for lead.
- Lead test kits: Lead test kits are available for purchase at most hardware stores. These kits are easy to use and can provide results in minutes. However, laboratory testing methods are more accurate than lead test kits.
The best method for detecting lead in drinking water depends on several factors, including the level of lead contamination that is suspected, the need for accurate results, and the availability of resources.
If you have concerns about lead in your drinking water, it is important to get your water tested and to take steps to reduce your exposure.
Reducing Lead Exposure
Here are some tips for reducing your exposure to lead in drinking water:
- Run your tap for several minutes before using the water for drinking, cooking, or bathing. This will flush out any lead that may have accumulated in the pipes.
- Use a filter that is certified to remove lead from water.
- Avoid using lead-based paint. If you have lead-based paint in your home, have it professionally removed.
- Keep your children away from lead-contaminated soil.
By following these tips, you can help to protect yourself and your family from the harmful effects of lead.
Palintest Kemio™ Heavy Metals Measurement System: Lead Detection
Palintest has developed Kemio™, a simple method of testing for lead in water using a portable device. Kemio™ uses ASV to test for heavy metals, and it is the only portable US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved method for lead testing.
This test doesn’t require any specialist training and can be performed on-site within minutes, giving accurate results even with low lead concentrations. It allows water utility professionals to test consumers’ water sources and efficiently and quickly identify contamination issues.
This Kemio™ system also can measure cadmium which is not a widespread drinking water quality test. This can also cause health issues, for further Information on contaminates please check out this link.
The Palintest Kemio™ test system comes as the heavy metals’ water test meter for cadmium and lead mentioned above and as a disinfection multi-parameter Instrument.
The following blogs will provide additional information on the Kemio™ system:
- Enhancing Water Testing Efficiency with Kemio
- An introduction to the new Kemio by Palintest
- How can I test water for heavy metals contamination?
Information from the technical department at Palintest.