The city of Flint, Michigan unfortunately drew headlines month ago for a lead contamination in their municipal water source that went unreported until discoloration and odor became too noticeable and the general public began to cry out. But recent reports are now showing that more 18 million Americans in over 5,300 water districts are also receiving water that has failed some portion of the EPA's Lead and Copper Rule. (map designates non-complying districts in red)
The Lead and Copper Rule outlines proper test methods for measuring lead and copper levels as well as reporting and treatment methods in the instance of a test failure. Of the 5,300 water systems that have not properly to the EPA's rule, states have taken action in 817 cases and the EPA in only 88.
It seems that the majority of the violations stem from a willful attempt to adjust the test methods in various ways to increase the likelihood of passing. Improper selection of homes to attempt to test in areas most likely to pass is clearly not a proper representation of the system's overall quality and is certainly not a sign of these districts working in the best interest of their constituents.
Other cases have shown pre-flushing the lines before taking a sample to get rid of the water that has sat in the leaching pipes and is most contaminated.
The water districts are lying to their customers to avoid the consequences of having to admit their poor water quality and deal with the consequences. 18 million Americans are being delivered potentially harmful water while their water districts in which they've entrusted to keep them safe are scared to accurately report their work.
Potential Health Risks of Lead
The most disheartening aspect to this whole event is the highly dangerous exposure that 18 million Americans have been unknowingly exposed to. One reason for the EPA rule being passed is that lead and copper cannot be tasted, smelled, or seen in a water source so an unknowing consumer would never know they are ingesting the poison. EPA has set the maximum contaminant level goal for lead in drinking water at zero because lead is a toxic metal that can be harmful to human health even at low exposure levels. According to the EPA, pregnant women and children are at the greatest risk of harm but even healthy adults may suffer serious results due to lead consumption.
Potential Health Risks of Copper
The human body has a natural mechanism for maintaining the proper level of copper in it. However, children under one year old have not yet developed this mechanism and, as a result, are more vulnerable to the toxic effects of copper. People with Wilson's disease also have trouble maintaining healthy copper levels and should also exercise particular care in limiting exposure to copper. While copper is an essential element for living organisms in very small amounts, it can cause adverse events at elevated levels including vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, liver damage and kidney disease.
How can I filter Lead and Copper?
As you've learned, lead is not something you want to assume that your water filter is removing; you need to be certain. Most granular water filters are not designed to filter lead as it is not supposed to be in our everyday drinking water. However, based on this story, we know that we can't leave our families health to fate in the hands of government agencies. Their track record is simply not trust-worthy.
All REVIVAL filters are designed to remove 99.9% of lead and 99.7% of copper. Our most recent test spiked the test sample of water with 200 parts per billion (ppb) of lead (13 times the EPA action limit of 15 ppb) and the result of the filtered sample was undetectable for any lead (<0.20 ppb). In the same test, we also spiked the the sample with 210 ppb of copper and the result was undetectable (<0.50 ppb).