Lead, the nasty neurotoxin that can cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities to seizures and death, has a way of sneaking into our Toronto homes; it’s been found in our kids’ toys, paint , and even glassware. And, if you aren’t careful, it can be in your water, too.
Though it’s not usually found in source water, it can get in to the wet stuff coming out the tap through your plumbing, which slowly corrodes over time. Toronto homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes and fixtures, and even legally “lead-free” plumbing may contain up to 8 percent lead. Plus, it can add up: A study published in The Journal of Environmental Health in 2002 found that 14 percent to 20 percent of total lead exposure comes from tap water. To avoid downing a dose of lead with your next glass of water, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency advises to only use cold tap water for consumption (drinking and cooking), especially when doing things for your little ones, like mixing baby formula. Youngsters aged 6 years and under are most at risk, because their bodies are growing quickly.
Hot water is more corrosive, drawing more of the nasties out (something we saw recently on TreeHugger in relation to bisphenol A, another nasty chemical), so using cold water-and flushing out your pipes until the water runs as cold as it’ll go when it’s been sitting for awhile-helps minimize the risk. Regularly testing your water will help ensure that your water is safe to drink, and give you peace of mind, too.
You may also want to consult your Toronto plumber about having a water filtration system installed in your home to eliminate any other toxins that may remain in your water. We maintain that regardless, you should always run the water cold for drinking and cooking.