If you’ve been following the news, you’re aware of unsafe levels of lead found in the water supplies of towns across the U.S. What is so unnerving about lead is that it can’t be detected with any of the human senses. The threat of contamination extends beyond just a home’s water sources by the likes of corroded pipes to other areas such as walls or window sills with old lead-based paint. Luckily, what our senses can’t detect, science and due diligence can.
Here is a round-up of tips and other preventative measures to help keep you and your family safe.
Test your home’s drinking water. The nonprofit organization Healthy Babies Bright Futures is working with Virginia Tech to provide and collect Lead in Water Action Kits for testing. You can also get your local consumer confidence report on epa.gov or call your local water provider by finding the contact information on your water utility bill.
Test your home for lead-based paint. If you live in a house that was built before 1978 (the year lead-based paint was banned), you should conduct a test to find out for sure. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends three lead test kits that you can purchase to perform a self-test on the paint in your home.
Know how to prevent and protect. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has helpful resources for you, including this list of questions and answers about lead-contaminated water. The CDC also offers a list of preventative tips to follow if you do live in or visit a house that was built before 1978, unless tests show otherwise.
Lead can also impact the workplace. If you’re a business owner and have questions about how to ensure your employees’ safety, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration can help. OSHA offers free on-site consultations, separate from inspections, for small business owners.