Elevated Levels of Lead Discovered in Tuscarawas Water Supply

(VILLAGE OF TUSCARAWAS) – Residents in the Village of Tuscarawas in Tuscarawas County are being urged to run their water to flush out lead for 30-90 seconds.

The initial announcement of elevated lead levels was released on Friday, June 9th by the Tuscarawas Water Operator. Reports indicate the finding was based on samples that were collected on May 17th and tested on June 7th.

Lead can cause substantial health problems with young children and pregnant women being most at risk for serious complications. According to the announcement, elevated levels of lead were discovered in 11 of the 20 water samples officials collected. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency indicates the maximum allowable concentration of lead in public drinking water is 15 micrograms per liter.

The Tuscarawas County Health Department took to Facebook to further explain how lead can end up in drinking water and the dangers it poses:

Lead can enter drinking water when plumbing materials that contain lead corrode or rust. The most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes, faucets, and fixtures. Lead pipes are more likely to be found in older cities and homes built before 1986.
You cannot see, taste, or smell lead in drinking water. The best way to know your risk of exposure to lead in drinking water is to identify the potential sources of lead in your service line and household plumbing.
Because no safe blood level has been identified for young children, all sources of lead exposure for children should be controlled or eliminated. EPA has set the maximum contaminant level goal for lead in drinking water at zero because lead can be harmful to human health even at low exposure levels. Lead is a toxic metal that is persistent in the environment and can accumulate in the body over time. Risk will vary depending on the individual, the chemical conditions of the water, and the amount consumed. For example, infants who drink formula prepared with lead-contaminated tap water may be at a higher risk of exposure because of the large volume of water they consume relative to their body size. Bathing and showering should be safe for you and your children because human skin does not absorb lead in water.
Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys and interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body. The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children. Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults. During pregnancy, the child receives lead from the mother’s bones, which may affect brain development.
The agency suggested the following steps you can take to reduce your exposure to lead in your water:
• Run your water to flush out lead. Run your tap water for 30 seconds, or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature, before using it for drinking or cooking, if the water hasn’t been used for several hours. This flushes stagnant lead-containing water from the plumbing supply pipes. Although toilet flushing or showering flushes water through a portion of your home’s plumbing system, you still need to flush water in each faucet before using it for drinking or cooking.
• Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap; lead dissolves more easily in hot water. Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula.
• Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.
• Replace your plumbing fixtures if they are found to contain lead.
• Use bottled water or use a water filter. Be sure to maintain and replace a filter device in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions to protect water quality. Any measure you take to reduce your exposure to lead should be continued until the lead source(s) has been minimized or eliminated.
The Tuscarawas County Health Department noted that it is working to set up pop-up blood lead level testing sites in the near future. For additional information, residents are encouraged to call the Village of Tuscarawas at 740-922-4189; visit the US EPA’s website at www.epa.gov/lead; call the National Lead Information Center at 800-424-LEAD; or contact your healthcare provider.

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