The Lame Duck session of Congress certainly packed a lot into a few weeks. One of the Bills passed by the House and the Senate and sent through to the President for his signature was a Bill to reduce lead used in plumbing fixtures used for drinking water transmission. The old Federal level allowed up to 8% lead content. The new level sets the upper limit at 0.25%. The law, once signed, will be effective in three years.
While this is a positive step, in many ways it is a “feel good” step as manufacturers had already greatly reduced and even eliminated lead from such fixtures.
It was just last month that the residents of New York City were advised to run their faucets for 30 seconds before using the water. The reason? Lead in the pipes. While some of that may have come from the fixtures, most of the lead contamination comes from lead pipes or lead solder was used in the old water-line infrastructure that are still used to carry water in many parts of the country.
So, although Congress’s actions are laudatory, it may not have much effect on the quality of drinking water in those locations where the old piping structure is still in use. According to the Associated Press, “lead contamination can pose serious health risks, particularly to pregnant women and children. It has been linked to health problems such as kidney disease, hypertension, reduced IQs in children, and brain damage”.
Why risk it? It is well known that a water-distiller is extremely effective in removing lead from water. Even if you are unsure whether your tap water contains lead or not, with a distiller you can rest assured that you a removing one more nasty contaminant form drinking water.
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