There are areas in California where the drinking water contains higher levels of lead than Flint MI, and yet people aren’t talking about this public health issue! Despite national knowledge, and efforts to rid our communities of lead, the hazard still remains all over our country. Recent data revealed that tests on children in many areas of CA show high levels of lead. The hardest hit area is in Fresno where 13.6% of the children tested, had elevated lead levels.
What is the Source of Lead Contamination?
Some potential sources for lead water contamination include; old paint, contaminated soil, and tainted drinking water. Lead is a neurotoxin that causes health issues such as cognitive impairment and attention disorders to name just a couple. The city of Fresno faces high poverty rates and substandard housing that both point to higher levels of lead poisoning.
Most experts agree that the lead came from old paint, industrial waste, and plumbing. Water that flows through old lead pipes or faucets, will become contaminated, if the pipes begin to break down. Contaminated soil, which is found near busy streets, is another source of lead contamination. In part, because lead was an ingredient in gasoline until the late 1970s. The soil that surrounds homes that were painted with lead-based paint also might be contaminated. Contaminated soil is a concern because it can introduce lead dust into the home.
What is Being Done?
It is a widespread problem in California, and more needs to be done to find out where the lead is coming from and how to clean it up. Last December, a Reuters investigation demonstrated that while the crisis in Flint may have been the story that drew attention to the issue of lead poisoning, the Michigan town was far from alone in the realm of Americans at risk.
Whether lead is inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through the skin, it can cause problems. Lead is dangerous because once it gets into a person’s system, it flows throughout the body just like helpful minerals such as iron, calcium, and zinc. Lead can cause harm wherever it lands in the body. In the bloodstream, for example, it can damage red blood cells and limit their ability to carry oxygen to the organs and tissues that need it, thus causing anemia. Almost all lead ends up in the bone and causes more problems.
So what can you do to protect your family from lead contamination? Well, the easiest and most effective way to protect against water contaminates, is to install a water filtration system. Not only would you be filtering out any harmful lead that finds its way into your drinking water, but you would also be filtering out a host of other harmful contaminates as well. Being aware, involved and proactive about your water safety is the best way to keep you and your family safe from harmful contaminates.