Jackson drinking water - should your child be tested for lead? - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson drinking water - should your child be tested for lead?

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

When it comes to your unborn and your young children being exposed to lead in Jackson through drinking water, it does happen. Nationwide.
According to the CDC  at least 4 million households have children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead. 
So we wanted to taker a closer look at the risk here in the Capitol city in light of warnings for parents.

Documents we gathered from the city showed specific addresses of 58 residences where random testing took place. A home on Sheffield Drive had an elevated level of lead. a 0.016pb result. So did water coming out of a kitchen faucet on Woodhaven Road. the PB result was 0.016.

Testing also took place at homes all across Jackson such as New Post road. Dogwood Trail, Kay Brook Drive, North Lamar Street, and Suncrest Drive.

While the city of Jackson, along with the Mississippi State Department of Health have issued precautions, pregnant women and parents should take precautions to avoid exposure to lead. The CDC says No safe blood lead level in children has been identified. 

We have learned that since 2012,  of all Jackson children tested by area physicians and reported to the  Mississippi Department of Health as part of routine and high risk evaluation screening, 202 had lead levels of  5 micrograms per deciliter. We do not know the number of children tested or the percentage.

And when it comes to the health of children, Lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body. The CDC says exposure frequently occurs with no real symptoms and often goes unrecognized.

The State Health Department suggests any child five and under and pregnant women use NSF certified filtered water. And parents should contact their pediatricians for lead screening. A simple blood test. 

While testing showed the majority of home lead testing performed turned up no lead or lead below the action level of 15ppb  a precautionary warning exists in Jackson.

We requested records tracking lead in children for the past 5 years from the State Health Department.   
A spokeswoman responded Friday saying health officials have not seen any elevation of blood levels in children dating back to 2011. 

Meanwhile, baby formula should be ready to feed or prepared only with filtered or bottled water.

Heating or boiling your water will not remove lead. Because some of the water evaporates during the boiling process, the lead concentration of the water can actually increase slightly as the water is boiled.

According to the CDC, lead rarely occurs naturally in water; it usually gets into the water from the delivery system. Lead pipes are the main contributor to high lead levels in tap water. Other sources include parts of the water delivery system such as lead solder used to join copper pipes, brass in faucets, coolers, and valves. Although brass usually contains low lead levels, the lead can still dissolve into the water, especially when the fixtures are new. Private wells more than 20 years old may contain lead in the "packer" element that is used to help seal the well above the well screen. Some brands of older submersible pumps used in wells may also contain leaded-brass components. Corrosion of pipes and fixture parts can cause the lead to get into tap water. 

Homes built prior to 1988 are more likely to have lad pipes or solder. City of Jackson officials say Jackson's water has not been deemed unsafe.

Officials added recently, exceeding the action level does not necessarily indicate a violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act; however, additional compliance measures must be met, including more frequent sampling and taking measure to mitigate the reaction of the finished water with piping, plumbing and service lines.

Mitigation measures typically include implementation of flushing programs and optimizing corrosion control during the treatment process.  

What can I do to reduce or eliminate lead in my tap water?
If your tap water contains lead at levels exceeding EPA's action level of 15 ppb, you should take action to minimize your exposure to the lead in the water.

You should begin by asking your water authority these questions:

1. Does my water have lead in it above EPA's action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb)?

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