Is lead harmful?
Lead in our environment
Over the ages lead has been found to be a very useful material, from plumbing, electronics, petrol, paint, glass and many other applications. The majority of our exposure to lead comes from food, and dust.
Unfortunately, swallowing of lead over time can affect our health, with the greatest risk being to children under five. As a result of these health issues the government has banned the use of lead in many products. The most well known example in recent times is the removal of lead from petrol.
For a long time lead was the main material for domestic plumbing, but once it was recognised that small quantities of lead can be picked up by the water, the use of lead water pipes was stopped. So, all properties built after 1970 don’t contain lead pipes. However, about a third of older properties in the North West still have lead pipes either within the property itself or the pipe that connects your home to our water main in the street.
Although the risk from lead in drinking water is small when compared to the many risks that surround us every day, the government advises that people should minimise their exposure to lead from all sources, including drinking water.
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