New York City Lead Water Issues

December 6, 2010

New York City has warned people about lead found in the tap water of older homes, but they stress the contamination is not in the city’s reservoir system, it’s in the plumbing of older homes. The Department of Environmental Protection said that the NYC Water is safe and healthy to drink, but substances such as lead, are present. Some older buildings in the city have lead pipes, or pipes with lead fixtures, which can impact the tap water of private homes by introducing lead into water that has been sitting in the pipes for several hours or more.

To try to help the problem Health Commissioner Thomas Farley has launched the Run Your Tap campaign, a public service campaign to educate city residents about simple precautions that can reduce potential exposure to lead from internal plumbing systems. As part of the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, NYC conducts tap water testing at a sample of homes in New York City known to have lead service lines.

Lead is a common metal found in the environment. In the past, lead has been used in pipes, plumbing fixtures, paints, gasoline and other products. Lead may be found in air, water and soil from past uses of these products. Lead poisoning is a preventable health problem and young children are at greatest risk, health experts say. Lead poisoning may cause learning and behavior problems as well as delays in growth and development in children.


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