Testing for lead in your water

To say that water is critical to human sustenance is an understatement. Only second to the air we breathe, water and food are two key components that every human needs in order to live. However, it is clear that the availability of water itself is not the problem. Rather, it is the availability of clean water suitable for drinking and cooking that is often of the larger concern. In developing countries, the concern is usually with contamination with disease-causing microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and algae. As is emerging in recent years though, developed countries are not completely immune to problems with water contamination. In some cases, they too have to deal with the risk of water-based pathogens. However, take it from an experienced plumber in Toronto, the problem that is raising more concern is problems with chemical poisoning. In Canada and the Toronto metropolis, this concern has come to the fore with growing concern on lead poisoning.

What dangers does lead poisoning present?

Even though younger children below six years of age are generally considered to be the most vulnerable to the effects of lead poisoning, adults are not immune. This of course means that pregnant women must also be particularly careful as poisoning can affect the growing fetus. Children can suffer from learning difficulties, poor hearing, partial blindness, attention deficit disorders and sometimes kidney failure. In adults, poisoning effects include muscle pain, poor concentration, hypertension and memory loss.

What is the probability that my water contains lead?

The sources of lead in tap water are varied many but in most instances stem from the type of plumbing used. In Toronto, water pipe systems for single houses preceding 1960 might be made from lead. Houses built after that did not use lead pipes any longer. In addition, multiuser houses such as six unit buildings do not use due to the amount of pressure required to distribute water in such large buildings-something lead pipes might not manage to do well. Other potential sources is soldering used in pipe repairs or pipe joints. The contamination usually takes place when standing water remains in contact with the lead for an extended period and thus dissolving it.

How can I have my water tested for lead contamination?

Something important to note with lead contamination, which even makes it riskier to deal with, is that lead contamination changes neither the taste nor the color of your drinking water. This means you cannot tell if your water is contaminated simply by looking at it. Testing for lead in Toronto is free for Toronto residents living in pre-1960 single unit homes as these are considered as higher risk. Other residents have to engage the services of private laboratories to test their tap water.

Any there any rebates?

As mentioned above, testing for lead in Toronto in pre-60s houses is free. In addition, the Toronto City Council has undertaken a project to replace all city-owned portions of the piping system that are made from lead. However, in instances where the piping system within the homes is made from lead, the house owner will have to arrange to have the pipes removed at his or her own cost.

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