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Information for Your Customers on Flushing Taps

Lead in water is often from the corrosion of materials containing lead in household plumbing

Lead is a common metal that has been in many consumer products but is now known to be harmful to human health if ingested or inhaled. It can be found in lead-based paint, air, soil, household dust, food, some types of pottery, and drinking water. When people come in contact with lead, it may enter their bodies and accumulate over time, resulting in damage to the brain, nervous system, red blood cells, and kidneys.

The following is information about lead in drinking water: why it is a cause for concern, how it enters water, and most importantly, simple precautions you can take to protect you and your family.

Lead is rarely found in natural sources of water such as rivers and lakes or underground aquifers. However, it may work its way into drinking water after the water has left the treatment plant and is on its way to people's faucets. This usually happens through the corrosion of materials containing lead in household plumbing. These materials include brass faucets, lead solder on copper pipes, lead pipes, or lead service lines connecting the water main to the inside plumbing.

Lead pipes are no longer installed for service lines or in household plumbing. The amount of lead allowed in brass faucets has also been limited, but can still contribute some lead to drinking water (note that many faucets are made of brass even if they do not have a "brass" color). Even with these restrictions in place, some homes-especially older homes-may still have significant amounts of lead in their plumbing systems.

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Mass Rural Water Association

781 Millers Falls Road, Northfield, MA 01360

Phone: 413-498-5779

Fax: 413-498-9943