The Flint and Newark crisis has brought a new search trend in the water industry and it is lead contamination. It is an element that is harmful in any capacity if it is in your drinking water. If there has been a hint of lead in the drinking water source in or near your home, it is crucial to get professional help immediately. Here is a brief guide on lead, problems caused by it and the solutions that one can employ individually to tackle this problem.
What Is Lead?
Lead is a naturally occurring element, bluish-gray in color and belonging to the metal group. It is found in small amounts on the earth’s outer layer. It is easily found in the surroundings much of which usually comes from human activities like fossil fuel burning, manufacturing, and mining. Lead in water
The element itself is found in many different physical materials. It is majorly used in batteries, ammunition, paints that are based on lead, solder, and pipes. It is used in the devices to shield from radioactive material or X-Rays. In recent years, the use of this element in products close to the consumers like caulking, pipe solder, ceramic products, gasoline, and paints has been reduced due to the health risks associated with the exposure. This has resulted in a lesser amount of lead in our blood than it was 30 years ago.
Problems Associated With Lead In Drinking Water
The health effects resulting from exposure can be life-threatening and so, the World Health Organization (WHO) has essentially set a maximum limit of 10 ppb in drinking water supplies. Lead can be very harmful to human health and is very dangerous to children. Because children are developing, their nervous systems are more sensitive to the effects of this element and therefore cause a wide range of long-term health problems. Some of the health problems that can be caused by the contamination are as follows:
- Even more than the contamination, lead poisoning is dangerous. It happens when a person is exposed to very high levels of the contaminant over a short period of time. In such a case, the person may experience constipation, abdominal pain, fatigue, headaches, irritation, memory loss, weakness, tingling in the hands or feet, loss of appetite, etc.
- Because the above-mentioned symptoms are very common with other ailments, it is very easy to overlook lead poisoning. When that happens, further exposure causes brain and kidney damage with anemia and can even cause death.
- Like children, pregnant women are highly vulnerable as the element is capable of crossing the placental barrier exposing the unborn child to a wide range of deformities, brain diseases, illnesses, and even death. Its exposure can cause miscarriage, stillbirths, and infertility in both men and women.
- As mentioned, it affects children more than adults and they began showing signs of severe toxicity are lower levels of lead than adults do. Parents that have a job where they are exposed to this contaminant experienced their children having neurological effects even mental retardation. Poisoning has been reported in children whose parents have lead dust on their clothing.
- Long term exposure can also cause depression, distracted mind, forgetfulness, nausea/sick. People with prolonged exposure may also be at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, and reduced fertility.
How Does Lead Get Into The Drinking Water?
Lead rarely occurs naturally in water and more often than not gets into it through a delivery system. The main reason for high levels in tap water is due to the pipes that have been laid in the 1950s, they were made of lead. It easily seeps into the water causing rashes in the beginning. This crisis was reported in Flint and Newark where the levels were higher than the standards specified. A few other sources are:
- Lead solder used to join copper pipes, brass in coolers, valves, and faucets.
- Private wells more than 20 years old will have the element in the packer element used to seal the well above the good screen.
- Brands of older submersible pumps that used leaded-brass components in wells.
- Corrosion of lead and leaded brass in the tap water through pipes.
How Can One Prevent Lead From Drinking Water?
If suspicion of contamination arises, it is better to make a call to water experts in the region and analyze the incoming flow from the tap. The analysis will help understand if there is a need for employing treatment technologies in the residence.
It is better to initially try to identify and remove the source. If the area or the backyard has a private well, make sure to check that and the pump for potential sources. Heating or boiling the water will not remove lead. In fact, it will increase the concentration because water evaporates but the chemical remains back and so it is highly recommended to not boil the water.
Instead, using Reverse Osmosis Purifiers for residence is a better option. Reverse Osmosis is a proven method for filtration that removes 99% of contaminants from drinking water. Usually, the filters available are capable of eliminating every impurity in the water. Based on the level of contamination, you can select any filter between a 5 Stage RO Purifier or an RO Filter with Deionization feature that allows you to get rid of the contaminant.
Problems Associated With Lead In Industries:
In Industries, the exposure has an immediate consequence on the product itself. Manufacturing facilities especially make products that will be used by end line consumers and that exposure can be as unhealthy as through water. Additionally, for many industries, specific raw water requirements demand a certain quality type with no lead in the composition. It affects their product heavily if the element is found in the water used and some of these industries are:
- Chemical Industries where chemicals require exact amounts of solutes and solvents to make a solution. For this, they require distilled water with nothing but hydrogen and oxygen in the composition.
- Pharmaceutical factories where medicines are made for specific doses and with an equally specific composition. To make these, the initial raw water mandatorily has to be devoid of anything but hydrogen and oxygen molecules.
- The food industry makes products that are used for direct consumption by the people and it, therefore, goes without saying that the product these facilities make has to have zero lead in the product or at least below the normal standard as specified by the regulatory boards.
- Dairy and Beverage industry just like the food industry is responsible for producing consumable goods and has to be especially careful with what goes into the making of these products. Hence it is equally important for them to have water without lead contamination.
In general, industries prefer to have water that is being used within an acceptable range of standard not only for producing but also for rejecting. Wastewater produced from the factories has to be filtered before being discarded to comply with Federal, State, and Local environmental regulations. For this purpose, the filtration of lead from the water is crucial.
Solution To Get Rid Of Lead Contamination In Industrial Setting:
You may wish to consider water treatment methods such as reverse osmosis, distillation, and carbon filters specially designed to remove lead. Majorly, industries will have to have a customized product that is based on their requirements. But for more generic industries like food, dairy, pharmaceutical, chemical, home and office, disaster relief, hotel and service industry, products are usually made available with the required design to accommodate the specific field.
Usually, Industrial Reverse Osmosis Systems are used due to higher capacities. These are used to filter the incoming water for the industries that have to be especially careful with their products that can have exposure on their consumers. These systems
- Come fully equipped with reverse osmosis core system
- Are automated and require minimum manual supervision or intervention
- Have a good recovery rate
- Have a structure made of stainless steel for maximum lifespan
- With proper and timely maintenance can run for years in the same facility
- Are 99% effective in the job they are set to do
These systems are also available in a number of capacities for the company to choose from so that they can be used for small, medium and large-scale manufacturing facilities.
For wastewater treatment, the systems designed are slightly different and usually require a treatability test of the water it will treat before being manufactured. These systems ensure that the company and industry are able to be in compliance with the regulations and standards of wastewater discharge set by the Federal, State and local authorities. Because the composition of this water is different in every industry and factory even, it is suggested to get a company to first analyze the wastewater and then design a wastewater treatment system accordingly. The system more or less is based on reverse osmosis system but is capable of dealing with harsher waters with intense chemical content, especially lead.
About The Author:
AMPAC USA offers a complete solution to remove lead from your water supply. AMPAC USA Advanced Reverse Osmosis Systems reduces the lead of up to 99% from drinking water supplies.