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Sources of Lead in Water

Recently, concerns over dangerous levels of lead infiltrating the water supplies in Newark, New Jersey, rose to a fever pitch. In August 2019, the EPA found that two-thirds of homes located in a neighborhood within the city contained alarming levels of lead in their water. This occurred despite attempts to eliminate the lead present in the water through the use of filters. Although residents received bottled water from the state, this does not resolve the problem that continues to threaten Newark and a growing number of communities including Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, and Milwaukee. Flint, Michigan became the most infamous area in the country to report excessive lead in their water supplies.

One way that lead infiltrates drinking water is through the distribution systems that are in place. More than six million lead service lines connect water to residences in the U.S. Back in 1991, the EPA estimated that around 10 million active lines distributed water nationwide. While the “lead and copper” rule instituted by the EPA led to some reduction of lead-bearing lines, the contaminated presence of many continues to make communities and residents vulnerable to adverse health effects. Medical issues brought on by lead exposure include developmental delays, premature births, and kidney and reproductive problems.

Illinois and Ohio carry about 700,000 lead-bearing lines, and New Jersey and New York, for example, have 500,000 lines. Western states like Nevada and Idaho harbor only about 10,000, which may be because of the lower populations or that more-recently installed lines may use other materials. In the southern region, states such as Georgia and Alabama contain about 50,000 lines. Other areas with high concentrations of lead lines are in the Midwest and Texas.

According to the American Water Works Association, lead pipes are being replaced at a rate of 0.5 percent per year. At that rate, replacing all the pipes in the U.S. would take at least 200 years and require at least $1 trillion to fund.

The Philadelphia water contamination lawyers at Williams Cedar present the following infographic displaying the amount of lead service pipes still used in the U.S. and other common sources of lead.

Philadelphia Water Contamination Lawyers discuss sources of lead in water.

If you or your loved ones developed serious medical conditions due to lead exposure, our Philadelphia water contamination lawyers at Williams Cedar will investigate your claim. Call us today at 215-557-0099 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We proudly serve clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide from our offices in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey.

Sources of Lead in Water

  • Lead is a toxic metal known to be harmful to human health
    • No amount of lead is safe
    • Even small amounts can causeserious health problems
  • The primary source is the water distribution system used to carry water to your home and the plumbing within your home
    • It is stated that more than six million lead service lines connect water to residences in the U.S.
  • Lead in water threatens a growing number of communities today
    • The EPA found that two-thirds of homes in Newark, NJ contained high levels of lead in their water in 2019.
    • Other cities with lead problems: Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, & Milwaukee
    • Flint, Michigan became the most infamous area in the country to report excessive lead in their water supplies.

Replacing Lead Pipes

  • Lead pipes are being replaced at a rate of 0.5 percent per year.
    • To replace all the pipes in the U.S. would take at least 200 years and require at least $1 trillion to fund.

Other Sources of Lead

  • Lead-based paints used in homes built before 1978
  • Products like toys and jewelry may contain lead
  • Household dust from contaminated soil brought in from the outside
  • Candies, cosmetics and medicines imported from other countries may contain lead
  • Jobs and hobbies may involve working with lead-based products, such as auto repair

Health Problems Caused by Lead

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Reproductive Problems
  • Brain Damage
  • Premature Births