Protecting Against Lead in Water

Lead is a naturally occurring element found in the Earth’s crust in small amounts. It can be beneficial in specific uses, but it is a harmful metal to a person’s health and there is no safe level for lead exposure to humans. People are exposed to lead products that range from lead-based paint, air, soil, dust inside homes, food, pottery, and even drinking water. Consuming high levels of this metal can cause health issues once it enters the blood, especially for younger children.

Effects of Lead

The EPA is required by the Safe Drinking Water Act to determine the level of contaminants in drinking water that is considered safe with minimum health effects. The standard allowed for lead is set to zero, and even at low levels, lead can be very harmful and can accumulate in the body over time. Lead is a neurotoxin that can cause brain disorders and severe kidney damage. The effects of lead do not equally impact individuals. The risks will vary depending on the person, the chemical properties of the water, and the amount of lead consumed. Specific issues found in people:

  • Pregnant Women – As discussed above, lead can accumulate in the body over time and can be found in a person’s bones along with calcium. Lead is released from the mother’s bones when maternal calcium transfers to the fetus to help develop bones for the baby. The lead can also cross the placental barrier that can expose the fetus, possibly causing reduced growth and premature birth.
  • Infants and Children – Infants who consume water with lead content may be at a higher risk of exposure since the large volume of water they consume is relative to the proportion of their smaller body size. Children are often vulnerable to lead poisoning due to the fact they drink more water and have developing bodies. High levels of lead exposure can cause convulsions, significant neurological damage, organ failure, coma, and even death. Lower exposure of lead can cause hearing loss, reduced growth, and an increased chance of learning and behavior disabilities.
  • Adults – Adults who are exposed to lead can suffer from health issues such as cardiovascular effects with increased blood pressure and hypertension. In addition, older persons can develop kidney damage and complications with reproductive organs.

How Does Lead Get in Tap Water?

Lead is in all areas of our environment and can be found in the air, soil, and water. Lead can even be found within our homes in certain places. Most lead contaminates come from human activities such as the use of fossil fuels and gasoline, factories, or lead-based paints. When lead is released into the air, it can travel long distances before it settles in soil or water supplies. Lead can merge into drinking water, causing corrosion to take place, and eating away at the piping within homes. In older houses, before 1930, lead was used for soldering pipes. It wasn’t until the early 1980s when we saw a decrease of lead being used for pipes in homes.

Lead Removal

If you suspect that lead may be in your water, we advise that you get your water analyzed by a certified laboratory, or at minimum, purchase a DIY self-test kit to determine for sure. The good news is, lead can be removed from your drinking water. The simplest way to solve this issue is by using the correct water filter after the contamination source is identified. The three basic water filtration methods to remove lead are:

  • Reverse Osmosis – The most popular and inexpensive option, and it can eliminate 95% of lead in water.
  • Activated Carbon Filtration – This option allows the activated carbon in filters to absorb minerals such as lead and magnesium from the water, decreasing the amount of lead supply significantly. However, the disadvantage is that the filter cartridges may fill up quickly and need replacement often. The lead removing capabilities also decrease after a certain amount of water has been passed through the system.  
  • Distillation – This method produces the purest water, but it comes with an expensive price tag and requires a lot of electricity and processing time as well.

The experts at Reynolds Water Conditioning have a solution to your home’s unique water quality needs, including arsenic, bacteria, chlorine, rotten egg smell, fluoride, hard water, iron, lead, acid, tannins, radon, and more. More information on water treatment solutions, including water softeners and conditionerswater filtration and purificationreverse osmosis drinking water, and iron & odor removal, can be found online at https://reynoldswater.com.



The Importance of High-Quality Drinking Water


Hydration is key to all living things, and without it, we would only live for about five days. Our bodies are more than 50% water and it helps maintain our normal body temperature, lubricates joints, and enables the body to rid waste through urination, sweat, and bowel movements. Doctors advise us to drink at least eight 8 oz. glasses of water every day and studies have shown that women, on average, will consume approximately 91 oz. of water and men will drink about 125 oz. of water every day. Part of this consumption of water is from foods such as fruits and vegetables. It seems quite simple why water is so important to our health, but understanding the different risks from contaminations and how to protect your drinking water can be more in-depth.

Is Tap Water Safe?

In general, tap water is considered to be safe to consume if it comes from a public water system that is run and maintained by a municipality. When drinking water exits a treatment facility and travels to your home, the quality standards must reach strict safety requirements. Unfortunately, even with these safety policies, it does not mean that the water is free of any contaminants, but that the levels of the pollutants are low enough not to cause any health risks. Accidents do happen and if the water supply does become contaminated with something that can create illness, the supplier must inform consumers within 24 hours and offer alternative suggestions for safe drinking water.

Types of Contaminations

There are a few ways that water can become contaminated. Water can contain microorganisms like parasites and bacteria that are added to the water from human or animal feces. It can also become contaminated from industrial waste such as spraying crops that contain chemicals or nitrates used in fertilizers that run off the land. Sometimes the natural deposits from underground can have various minerals like lead or mercury that can enter the water supply. Lead can also transfer to a water source through old lead pipes as well. Even pipes that claim to be “lead-free” can contain as much as 8% lead. To avoid lead consumption when using tap water, use water from the cold tap and to let the water run for a minute before using it.

A Solution to the Problem

Often, when a contamination notice is sent to homes about a water crisis, it is advised to boil your water for 24 to 48 hours, so many consumers are under the impression that contaminates can be removed by heating the water to cleanse it. Boiling water will indeed kill germs; however, contaminants such as lead, nitrates, and pesticides will not affectedly be removed using this method.  It may have an opposite consequence since boiling will reduce the amount of water when it evaporates, making the concentration of the contaminate even higher. There are four main types of water filters that are more beneficial for contaminant removal:

  • Activated Carbon Filters – These can remove organic contaminants that change the taste and smell. Certain systems are designed to remove chemicals such as chlorination by-products, pesticides, and some metals like copper or lead.
  • Reverse Osmosis – This filtration system can remove nitrates, sodium, pesticides, and petrochemicals.
  • Ion Exchange – This type of filter can remove minerals like calcium and magnesium, and they are used in combination with other systems such as carbon absorption or reverse osmosis.
  • Distillation – This method creates distilled water by collecting condensation of steam from boiling water.

The experts at Reynolds Water Conditioning have a solution to your home’s unique water quality needs, including arsenic, bacteria, chlorine, rotten egg smell, fluoride, hard water, iron, lead, acid, tannins, radon, and more. To learn more information on our water treatment solutions, including water softeners and conditionerswater filtration and purificationreverse osmosis drinking water, and iron and odor removal, visit https://reynoldswater.com.



What You Should Know About Hexavalent Chromium

Due to the rising attention given to the seeping of hexavalent chromium (or “green goo”, as called by area residents) in Madison Heights, MI, it is important to understand how you can protect your family from such dangers should they arrive near your home.

What is Hexavalent Chromium?

While the hexavalent chromium (made famous in the movie Erin Brockovich) seepage in Madison Heights poses little health risk to residents due to differing drinking water sources, it is important to understand exactly what this health risk is and what it can do to you and your family. Hexavalent chromium, according to this OSHA article, is one of the valence states (+6) of the element chromium, usually produced by an industrial process. Cr(VI) is known to cause cancer and targets the respiratory system, kidneys, liver, skin, and eyes.

What Can be Done to Prevent This?

What happened with the Electro Plating Services building in Madison Heights was the result of gross incompetence with waste disposal by the owner and thus posed a huge risk to residents who are Ill-equipped to deal with such contaminants when the seepage was discovered, as reported in this WXYZ article. A net positive with this unfortunate incident is the growing awareness of how to deal with potentially harmful contaminants in your home’s water going forward. One proven combatant to contaminants like Cr(VI) is reverse osmosis, which sends water through a thin membrane that naturally filters particles too small to be filtered through prefilter systems located within the overall reverse osmosis filtration system. By installing a system like this in your home you’re able to keep harmful contaminants, not only Cr(VI) but a vast quantity of other similar agents, out of your home’s water and keep your family safe.

Reynolds Water is the best local source that provides you with a variety of filtration systems to keep your family safe. Give us a call and we can hook you up with the right system for your family at the best price in the area.

Water Filters 101


Water is one of the most important elements on this planet and without it, we would only live a few short days. Our bodies are made up of roughly two-thirds of H2O and to keep a healthy balance, we need to consume 2.4 liters of water each day. It comes to no surprise that new ways are constantly being found in order to provide us with more clean, pure water to nourish ourselves. In order to remove many of the harmful impurities from our water, the use of water filters is a solution to this problem. How important are water filters you may ask? Let’s take a closer look at what a water filter is.

How Filters Work

Water filters use two different techniques in the removal of dirt and debris. The first is physical filtration in which water is strained by a physical barrier such as a thin gauze or fine textile membrane to remove the larger particles. The second method is done thorough chemical filtration, which involves water passing through an active material, such as carbon, that removes impurities as they pass through chemically. There are 4 primary methods used for water filters that use a combination of physical and chemical filtration:

Activated Carbon Filters

This type of filter is the most common and popular of the options available that are based on charcoal. Charcoal is a form of Carbon that is very porous because it has a big internal surface area that can trap foreign particles. Larger contaminants are stuck on the outside, thus being removed from the water. Carbon can also act as a magnet for items such as lead and VOCs that continue to remove particles internally as water passes through the filter. On the chemical aspect, chemicals like Chlorine are removed during a chemical reaction when water is in contact with Carbon. The main disadvantage of this type of filter is after time it will get clogged with impurities and need to be replaced, which can add additional costs down the road. 

Reverse Osmosis

Filtration that removes contaminants by water pressure to force tap water through a semipermeable membrane is called Reverse Osmosis. The membrane is an effective, very fine filter that allows the water to pass through but the contaminants like Lead, Mercury, and Iron stay behind. The downside is certain items such as some pesticides, solvents, and metals like Chlorine and Radon can not be removed with Reverse Osmosis.

Distillation

A natural option for filtration can be done with the simple process of steam distillation that involves heating water to boiling and then cooling the steam to remove the contaminants. Most contaminants have a higher boiling point than water which is why they are left behind when the water becomes steam. The steam is collected and transformed back to water in a separate container. The disadvantage to this type of filtration is some contaminants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) boil at a lower temperature than water and they evaporate with the steam and can remove beneficial minerals in natural water during the filtration process.

Ion Exchange

This filter is very good at softening hard water by removing limescale. The process is done with chemical filtration method by releasing ions, like sodium, and exchange them for unwanted ions like heavy metals found in your water. The result is better-tasting water, however, the sodium is simply another form of contaminant, so the ion exchange doesn’t exactly make the water “pure”. This option is not the best for people on low-sodium diets. The second disadvantage of ion-exchange filtration is that it will need to recharge the filters occasionally with more sodium ions by adding a certain type of salt.

The experts at Reynolds Water Conditioning have a solution to your homes unique water quality needs including: arsenic, bacteria, chlorine, rotten egg smell, fluoride, hard water, iron, lead, acid, tannins, radon, and more.  More information on our water treatment solutions including water softeners and conditionerswater filtration and purificationreverse osmosis drinking water, and iron & odor removal can be found online at https://reynoldswater.com.



Why You Should Test for Lead in Your Water

Over the past several years lead in water has become a hot issue amongst homeowners, especially after the events and discovery of lead in Flint, MI water systems. Lead in your water can be a very big issue for not only you and your family but your home as well. No matter how old or new your house is, no home is truly immune to the effects of lead in water, although older homes with older plumbing systems are more susceptible than newer, more modern homes. The effects of lead in the water are the same across all instances, however, and having a proper understanding of them can help you and your family better prepare yourselves if you find yourself experiencing this troubling issue.

Your Home

As mentioned, homes with older plumbing systems can be more susceptible to having lead contaminates in the water. This is because the pipes themselves experience natural corrosion over time, and thus experience a higher probability of contaminates getting through as these pipes age and deteriorate. It benefits both your home and your family to consistently replace the piping of a home over the course of your life to ensure the pipes you don’t see aren’t causing health issues for your family. This is also beneficial to ensure the pipes don’t deteriorate too much to a point where damage is caused in your home by water leakage, which can cause even more damage that can get very expensive to fix.

You and Your Family

Lead in your water can be an invisible issue that may go unnoticed for years until very visible damage is caused to your family’s health. While every member of a family can be negatively affected, infants, young children, and pregnant women are the highest risk for visible health damage. According to a HealthyChildren article, infants drinking formula prepared with lead-contaminated water can be at an even higher risk due to the large amount of water consumed relative to body size.

Concerned parents can have their local pediatrician test their children for lead deposits in their blood so parents can be on top of their children’s health. Because lead in water cannot be seen, tasted, or smelled, having your child tested is the only way to confirm lead in your water. Once that is done you can take the necessary steps to replace the piping in your home or install the proper equipment to better the quality of your water.

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The experts at Reynolds Water Conditioning have a solution to your homes unique water quality needs including: arsenic, bacteria, chlorine, rotten egg smell, fluoride, hard water, iron, lead, acid, tannins, radon, and more.  More information on our water treatment solutions including water softeners and conditionerswater filtration and purificationreverse osmosis drinking water, and iron & odor removal can be found online at https://reynoldswater.com.