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One solution to lead contamination: let tap water run.

Denver, Colorado: A possible solution to lead in drinking water may be a simple one, according to the American Water Works Association. If you haven't used your tap water for three hours or more, let your faucet run two to three minutes or until the water is cold before you drink or cook with it. This easy act could rid your water of harmful amounts of lead.

Lead solder, which may have been used in about 60% of our nation's residential plumbing before it was banned from use in 1985, is a major source of lead traces in drinking water.

Older cities tend to have more lead service lines or lead connections than communities with water systems built after the 1940s. Lead was a popular plumbing material in the early 1900s and until about 1945, when copper piping came into widespread use.

This doesn't always mean older cities have more of a problem, however. "Older pipes tend to have a protective coating built up in the pipe," says Jack Hoffbur, an engineer with the American Water Works Association, Denver, Colorado. "You have to look at the combined chemistry of the water and pipe material together on a case-by-case basis to see the extent of the leaching."

Many large cities, including Boston and Seattle, already have increased their treatment procedures to combat lead leaching. These cities add reputedly harmless chemicals, such as soda ash, to the water so it is less likely to pick up traces of lead from pipes and joints.
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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Jun 22, 1991
Words:251
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