The Environmental Health Standing Committee (enHealth) has released a guidance statement regarding lead in drinking water from some plumbing products.

enHealth has expressed the effort that should be made to reduce the exposure of lead in the environment. It is important to know, there has not been a breakout of lead in our drinking water supplies rather the lead may be dissolving into the drinking water from some plumbing products.


The natural occurrence of lead and its impact on our health

As a natural occurring metal, lead has properties that have been beneficial in the manufacturing industry; there are still types of employment involving lead, creating the main exposure to lead. People may also be exposed lead in the old paint used during home renovations and some alternative medicines.

Although lead may have some useful properties in manufacturing, the enHealth Committee warn us “to take every opportunity to limit our exposure to lead”.

This is our warning to look at the water we are consuming and the plumbing products we have in our home.

How is there lead in our drinking water?

In Australia we can consider ourselves lucky, our usually constant supply of clean running water has been untouched. The drinking water supplied to homes and businesses is known to be safe.

Each state treats and regulates drinking water according to the health legislation across Australia. With required routine monitoring, the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines details testing for contamination including lead. In our corner of the globe it would be unusual to find service pipes containing lead.

The rest of the world however is no stranger to lead being used in the manufacturing process of plumbing products. Unfortunately, these products are widely used in drinking water systems in our homes, building and water supply points such as drinking water fountains.

Plumbing in older homes that have old copper pipping with lead-based solder, these homes are at greatest risk. However, the lead-based solder is no longer permitted to be used by licensed plumbers in Australia.

The greatest risk occurs when the drinking water dissolve the lead from the plumbing fittings, the result worsens when the water has been stagnant for a long period.

The slight acidity of rainwater can corrode the plumbing in the tank and the heating process of hot water systems may also result in slight corrosion, dissolving some metals into the water.

enHealth have confirmation of their collaboration Australian plumbing authorities to minimize the risk of plumbing products affecting the quality of water and people’s health. If you’d like to find out more about how to reduce the risk of lead in your home, call us on 1300 758 326 for friendly reliable advice and service.