Households in Australia have been officially advised to run their taps for at least 30 seconds in the morning to get rid of the lead poisoning from plumbing products.
Although lead is rarely used in water pipes in Australia, it is still commonly used in a range of plumbing products like brass fittings used for water taps. It can easily dissolve into drinking water, especially where water has been remaining in contact with these brass plumbing products for a long time.
‘Lead poisoning alert: Running household taps for 30 seconds can protect you from lead poisoning. Here are a few simple ways that can help reduce lead in drinking water.’
Lead exposure can ultimately cause a wide range of symptoms ranging from fatigue, muscle pains, headache, abdominal pains, nausea, and vomiting to seizures and coma. Infants and children are particularly vulnerable as exposure to high levels of lead can impair brain development.
Babies who drink formula prepared with lead-contaminated water are at a higher risk mainly because of a large amount of water they consume compared to their body size," reports the alert.
While World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines state that no level of lead exposure is safe, Australian standards permit up to 4.5 percent lead content in brass fittings, compared with 0.25 percent in the US and Canada.
Simple Measures to Reduce Lead Exposure
- Use water from cold taps only for drinking and cooking
- Flush cold water taps for about 30 seconds in the morning before drinking and cooking
- Run taps for about two to three minutes after long periods of non-use, like when returning from holidays
The key advice is to follow the good practice measures as mentioned above. By following these measures, you can also overcome your potential exposure to other metals in plumbing products, such as copper and nickel.