Is lead harmful?
In the past, lead was widely used for everything from plumbing to electronics.
It is now known that over time, exposure to lead can affect health, with the greatest risk being to children under six and to pregnant women.
As a result, the Government has banned the use of lead in many products, and it has not been used for water pipes since 1970. The Government also advises that we should minimise our exposure to lead from all sources, including drinking water.
You can find out more about the health issues here.
- This leaflet from the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) (PDF 100 KB opens in a new window) explains how lead can get into water and what you can do to safeguard health
- Public Health England has a number of downloadable leaflets about lead and its effects on health
Does your home have lead pipes?
If your home has been modernised since 1970 and all of the pipes from the water company's stop valve outside your home to the kitchen tap have been replaced, there should be no lead pipe on your property.
However, a third of properties in the North West built before 1970 are believed to still have some lead plumbing. If you live in an older property, your supply pipe - the underground pipe that connects your home to the public water mains - could be made of lead, and there's a chance that there may be some lead pipes inside your home.
Below are some simple ways to check if you have lead pipes.