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What are the Common Purposes? I've dwelt on that question since first reading my alma mater's founding principle "for the purposes of instructing persons, who may choose to apply themselves, in the application of science to the common purposes of life". The question, more than any answer I may ever offer, has guided me through many personal and professional endeavors. And, if I have learned anything it is that I have derived my greatest joy when I, as part of a team, have made a lasting difference to improve the lives of others. Should the thoughts I share here and the ensuing discussion lead others to ask the same question, to seek their own answers and to experience the same joy as I, then I shall consider this effort of value.

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Getting the Lead OUT!

Posted May 05, 2013 12:00 AM by MillMatt

There is U.S. federal legislation slated to take effect on January 4, 2014 that will improve drinking water quality once again. Such changes may happen slowly, but they do happen and we are all the better for it. The legislation was actually signed by President Obama on January 4, 2011, but it was not to take effect for three years. During that time, other states such as California and Vermont have enacted similar measures but the federal mandate is the key driver here and it is already having an impact on suppliers.

The intent is to ensure that drinking water is "lead free", a term that is widely used in discussion and media. But the term isn't exactly true. Under the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act, "lead free" will be defined as, "not more than a weighted average of 0.25% lead when used with respect to the wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures." So, the legislation isn't mandating NO lead or no detectable levels of lead, but the reduction is more than an order of magnitude below current levels of 8.0%. That enormous reduction is something to cheer.

Suppliers of pipe, fittings, pumps and valves used in the supply of drinking water have been spending the past three years ensuring that their sources of supply will meet the requirements. They have been testing their products to ensure compliance and many have been offering entirely new products to meet the requirements. Similarly, distribution channels have had to reduce and will eventually eliminate non-compliant inventory. Enacting legislation may seem to be a never-ending process from what we may see on TV, but the real work begins for businesses when new requirements have to be met. Such changes are not a minor undertaking and require significant funding and allocation of resources that might otherwise address separate business opportunities.

On the other hand change is constantly occurring in business, new products are designed and introduced, technology changes, marketplace needs change and companies with foresight can incorporate legislated changes into their overall business plan as a means of remaining competitive and differentiating their business. In other words, such legislation can be seen as a good benchmark for business change implementation, and not a task required by the big hand of government.

The electronics industry has dealt with similar legislation with regard to lead and other hazardous materials and seems to have dealt well with the situation. Building and construction materials have been scrutinized, too, with changes enacted to reduce formaldehyde emissions and more. Certainly, gasoline formulations and its distribution have undergone enormous change over time as lead and other additives were removed via legislative actions.

Information regarding testing and certification may be obtained from the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF). Compliance with current 'low-lead' regulations is covered in NSF/ANSI Standard 61; information with regard to the new 'lead-free' legislation is covered in NSF/ANSI 372.

As in the past with the introduction of RoHS and WEEE legislation to electronic products, GlobalSpec will incorporate information in SpecSearch to capture products that meet user needs with regard to the Safe Water Drinking Act. Work has already begun.

References:

http://www.shedthelead.com/

http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/lcr/lead_nsfstandard.cfm

http://www.nsf.org/business/mechanical_plumbing/annexg.asp

http://www.wateronline.com/doc/are-you-ready-for-lead-free-0001

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#1

Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/05/2013 7:38 AM

"So, the legislation isn't mandating NO lead or no detectable levels of lead, but the reduction is more than an order of magnitude below current levels of 8.0%. That enormous reduction is something to cheer."

Why? None of the links appear to cite any reasons why the previous 1996 standard was inadequate. So, is there some proven medical reason why the old standard is dangerous? Or is this just another example of bureaucrats tightening up the requirements because they need to justify their existence and appear as though they are doing something?

Making an industry-wide change like this is tremendously costly. Those costs are eventually passed on to you and me. What is the risk/reward cost breakdown? Are these tighter regulations actually going to result in some noticeable improvement in my health, or not? If not, then I may be paying a lot of money for no good reason. And that's NOT something to cheer about.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/05/2013 11:47 AM

I can't find anything here that indicates that imposing new rules on manufacturers will fix anything.

Looks to me like a recommendation to homeowners to check their existing piping and fixtures would do the trick.

An inexpensive public service message.

"No new rules", should be part of the sequester package.

http://water.epa.gov/drink/info/lead/

Will this new legislation lead to less than zero levels?

How does that happen?

What are EPA's drinking water regulations for lead?
In 1974, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act. This law requires EPA to determine the level of contaminants in drinking water at which no adverse health effects are likely to occur with an adequate margin of safety. These non-enforceable health goals, based solely on possible health risks are called maximum contaminant level goals (MCLG) The MCLG for lead is zero. EPA has set this level based on the best available science which shows there is no safe level of exposure to lead.

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#3
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/05/2013 12:27 PM

The human body has no tolerance for lead....even the smallest amount can be damaging especially for children....This is bio-available lead we're talking about... Here is an article by Kevin Drum that looks at some problems created by lead exposure....

"Crime Is at its Lowest Level in 50 Years. A Simple Molecule May Be the Reason Why.

I've written several posts recently about the idea that America's great crime epidemic, which started in the 60s and peaked in the early 90s, was caused in large part by lead emissions from automobiles. Long story short, we all bought lots of cars after World War II and filled them up with leaded gasoline. This lead was spewed out of tailpipes and ingested by small children, and when those children grew up they were more prone to committing violent crimes than normal children. Then, starting in the mid-70s, we all began switching to unleaded gasoline. Our kids were no longer made artificially violent by lead poisoning, and when they grew up in the mid-90s they committed fewer violent crimes. This trend continued for two decades, and it's one of the reasons that violent crime rates have dropped by half over the past 20 years and by more than that in our biggest cities. It's one of the great underreported stories of our time: big cities today are as safe as they were 50 years ago.

Read the article...

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/01/lead-crime-connection

"America's Real Criminal Element: Lead

New research finds Pb is the hidden villain behind violent crime, lower IQs, and even the ADHD epidemic. And fixing the problem is a lot cheaper than doing nothing.

Read the article....

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/lead-crime-link-gasoline

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/05/2013 12:53 PM

So correlation without solid proof, is okay for lead, but not okay for glyphosate ingestion?

It still looks to me like lead exposure is coming primarily from existing sources, not newly manufactured stuff.

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#5
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/05/2013 1:00 PM

"You know lead is toxic, but do you know what makes it poisonous? In a nutshell, it's toxic mainly because it preferentially replaces other metals (e.g., zinc, calcium and iron) in biochemical reactions. Lead interferes with the proteins that cause certain genes to turn on and off by displacing other metals in the molecules. This changes the shape of the protein molecule such that it can't perform its function. Research is ongoing to identify which molecules bind with lead. Some of the proteins that are known to be affected by lead regulate blood pressure (which can cause development delays in children and high blood pressure in adults), heme production (which can lead to anemia), and sperm production (possibly implicating lead in infertility). Lead displaces calcium in the reactions that transmit electrical impulses in the brain, which is another way of saying it diminishes your ability to think or recall information, or makes you stupid.

Paracelsus' idea that the dose makes the poison doesn't really apply with lead. Many substances are non-toxic or even essential in trace amounts, yet poisonous in quantity. You need iron to transport oxygen in your red blood cells, yet too much iron can kill you. You breathe oxygen, yet again, too much is lethal. Lead isn't like those elements. It's simply poisonous. The main concern is lead exposure with small children, because lead can cause developmental problems, plus kids engage in activities that increase their exposure to the metal (e.g., putting things in their mouths, not washing their hands). There is no minimum safe exposure limit, in part because lead accumulates in the body. There are government regulations regarding 'acceptable' limits for products and pollution, because lead is useful and necessary, but the reality is, any lead is too much lead."

http://chemistry.about.com/od/howthingsworkfaqs/f/leadpoisoning.htm

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/05/2013 2:28 PM

I've known lead is dangerous for a long time; I remember hearing about the dangers of lead paint when I was a kid back in the early 60s. I don't doubt that it can be a problem, especially for youngsters.

My question is where is the data that shows the 1996 standard was dangerous? I want to see the cost/benefit analysis for this change. Keep in mind that the (let's say) billion dollars spent on this change means that a billion dollars is not being spent on cancer research, or improved chemo drugs, or on neurological research, etc.

Many times these new standards aren't really about health - they're about some large company (or companies) using political muscle to eliminate competition from smaller companies. Did Delta or Kohler or some other plumbing fixture company develop a lower-lead alloy and then pressure congress to pass a law requiring it to shut out competition from other companies still using the older (but safe) formulation? Where's the study that shows any actual improvement (reduction) in leached-out lead, and what impact (if any) that has to public health?

I also do not believe this statement: New research finds Pb is the hidden villain behind violent crime, lower IQs, and even the ADHD epidemic. After years of lower lead in the environment due to unleaded gas and non-lead paint, we've seen a reduction in test scores, flat-lined or lowered IQ scores and an increase in ADHD cases - just the opposite of what is claimed.

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#7
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/05/2013 3:27 PM

Well pb levels don't just effect the IQ of individuals, there is biological damage caused in many area's, as explained in the ref links I provided...secondly the IQ levels have declined for other reasons as well, including population growth(people with low IQ's tend to hook up with similar types), collapse of the Soviet Union(collapse of the education system), poverty(kids dropping out of school)and many others....This is a complicated issue that would take weeks to cover and would be restricted in this environment, if I chose to take the time to cover it in the detail you demand....All the information you seek is on the web, if you are really interested you have to take the time to seek the truth....I might also mention that a great deal of the lead that was released to the biosphere, is still present in the soil and water and food....Efforts to clean the remaining lead from the environment are under way and new legislation is being discussed to that end....

The Decline In Worldwide Average IQ rates....

http://uhaweb.hartford.edu/BRBAKER/

American IQ gains from 1932 to 2002 .........+22 point av gain...

http://www.iapsych.com/iqmr/fe/LinkedDocuments/flynn2007c.pdf

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#8
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/05/2013 5:03 PM

You said that lead is lowering IQs, but your link shows a steady rise in IQ in the US, China and India. I wonder where they are getting the lowering averages from?

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#9
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/05/2013 5:18 PM
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#14
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/05/2013 5:55 PM

Once we stop the flow, then we have to clean it up....simply put...The goal is "0" lead in the biosphere....

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#21
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/06/2013 8:18 AM

You wrote, "The goal is "0" lead in the biosphere..."

So, what will we do, dig it all up and transport it to the Sun?

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#22
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/06/2013 8:33 AM

Yes...

These will be called "shovel ready" jobs.

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#26
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/06/2013 11:33 AM
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#11
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/05/2013 5:34 PM

The first link is a worldwide average....The second shows improvement over the same course of time in the US.....Developing countries with well structured and stable governments would show the advance in education being made available to the population due to economic growth and infrastructure development....this resulting in higher IQ's on average....

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#10
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/05/2013 5:28 PM

As you say, there are many factors. I think it's important to remember correlation ≠ causation.

And none of that addresses my main question.

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#12
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/05/2013 5:46 PM

The very words spoken and addressed in the first link....The only possible reason for you to argue this point is that you are not taking the time to read the links I am providing, as the evidence is well researched and documented....If you want to debate the point then present an opposing view from a scientific paper, or at least a specialist in the field of relevant study....

I quote: "Now, I know my readers, and first thing a lot of you are going to do is yell at me: "Correlation is not causation!" And that's true. If this curve were the only bit of evidence we had, the connection between lead and violent crime would be pretty thin. But it's not. You should read the story to understand just how many different studies confirm this relationship. In addition, over the last decade there's been a tsunami of new medical research about just what lead poisoning-even at very low levels-does to children. It lowers IQ, of course, but it does a lot more than that:"....

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/01/lead-crime-connection

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#16
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/05/2013 8:11 PM

If MotherJones had a shred of credibility I'd have bothered to read the articles. But it doesn't. It has a political agenda which, in my experience, distorts their articles beyond the point where I can trust them. Might as well read an article from Pravda written in the 1960s.

So I looked at the articles anyway and nothing there addresses my point: Where's the medical proof that the 1996 levels are dangerous?

So I'm done here.

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#19
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/06/2013 12:26 AM

From the CDC : ".... no threshold for adverse health effects in young children has been demonstrated (no safe blood level has been identified), all sources of lead exposure for children should be controlled or eliminated..."

ie; there is no safe minimum level of lead in the blood of children....

This chart shows the continued drop of elevated blood lead levels from 1996-2007 in the state of Florida....

http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/data/state/2007/FL_2007chart.pdf

Check your own state....

http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/data/state.htm

quote ref...

http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/tips/water.htm

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#20
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/06/2013 7:15 AM

Nobody's saying that lead is good.

Your own links show that lead in children has dropped to almost zero, and that the primary culprit is old piping and fixtures, as far as water contamination goes.

This new federal legislation applies to new plumbing fixtures, and a quick look at the sites of manufacturers and distributors, shows that they are already in compliance with the CA standard.

So aside from accomplishing nothing, I wonder what the cost of these new rules will be, and how many more bureaucrats will be required?

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#39
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/12/2013 11:36 AM

You can't get rid of all the lead in the environment...you can stop industry from adding to it.

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#40
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/12/2013 11:57 AM

No one is making lead. At least in any significant quantity.

All the lead we have now in the environment is almost the exact same amount there was 100, 1,000, or 10,000 years ago.

However, we do have an active lead redistribution program.

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#13
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/05/2013 5:47 PM

We aren't going to see anything that shows that this latest push is going to accomplish anything.

http://www.mwra.state.ma.us/04water/html/Lead_Faucets.htm

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#15
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/05/2013 6:41 PM

We should continue to see improvement in the health, both physical and mental, of the population, as lead exposure is further reduced, no doubt the continuing research will bear this out....

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#23
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/06/2013 10:16 AM

"Big cities are as safe as they were 50 years ago" the only safety in cities 50 years ago was the reduction in reporting and awareness-violent Crime has been lessening in cities since before Roman times and has to do with poverty and policing- not lead,- but maybe gmo's will reverse that

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#24
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/06/2013 10:33 AM

I think it's been pretty well established, that the removal of the last of the lead leaching pipes and fixtures comes down to the responsibility of the homeowner.

What USBport is pointing out, which I agree with, is that we have seen explosive growth of government in the name of "safety", and increasingly diminishing returns on our investments in "big government" rules, agencies, people, laws, etc., and the inevitable encroachment that comes with them.

USBport is right...lets see a detailed cost/benefit analysis. That should have to be provided for literally everything the government does, as well as being used to eliminate laws, programs, and entire agencies that don't make sense.

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#25
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/06/2013 11:14 AM

"USBport is right...lets see a detailed cost/benefit analysis. That should have to be provided for literally everything the government does, as well as being used to eliminate laws, programs, and entire agencies that don't make sense."

So you want the government to hire a whole army of additional bean counters ???

Yeah that's good idea......anyway they already have that....it's called the CBO, Congressional Budget Office, an independent body of leading experts that vet everything the government does....

knock yourself out....

http://www.cbo.gov/about/overview

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#27
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Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/06/2013 2:11 PM

They are doing a wonderful job!!!!

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#17

Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/05/2013 11:42 PM

The NSF standards (which also apply to Canadian products) are for materials in contact with potable water. There is a more insidious source of lead in drinking water that is derived from wells or a water supply that can be easily biofouled. Biofouling refers to an accumulation of biofilms usually consisting of a consortium of microorganism. In a natural well environment these biofilms coat the plumbing within the well and the well bore itself. When biofilms coat the formation, they can create micro environments within the well. You can have a middle of the well water supply that is in a positive redox state but the underside of the biofilm can be very negative or reduced redox state. The reduced zones can create conditions favourable to sulphate reducing bacteria (SBR). However, if the water underlying the biofilm is devoid of a supply of sulphate, the SBR will harvest minerals to get at its sulphate source. Some of these sulphate minerals contain lead, barium and other heavy metals. When the sulphate is stripped from the mineral the lead is ionized and then free to enter the biofilm. The biofouling consortium of bacteria can and will establish mechanisms to reject the lead that then can enter the main stream of water. If a section of plumbing is subjected to biofouling conditions you can also expect the reduced conditions to produce some acidic or low pH water. So any lead available in any plumbing where these conditions exist are subjected to lead being transported into the water supply. I can appreciate the concern for lead in manufactured products.

When I was running my business, we were asked to sample in detail 300 wells for aboriginals. A full 30% of the wells had lead above the drinking water objectives as sampled directly from the well (no household plumbing). Each well with lead present was identified as biofouled. when the biofouling was removed, the lead disappeared. Strange but true. So if you own your own well and are your own utility manager, have your well sampled in detail. Have an expert in ground water microbiology and geochemistry help. Not many private wells undergo any rigorous testing unfortunately.

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#18

Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/06/2013 12:02 AM

Friends,

I'll add a few kernels of info. to all this. Go back a few decades. Early water service pipes into homes and inside homes were made out of lead with wiped joints. (I've seen them and removed some.) Remember that the chemical name for lead is Plumbum, which is the origin of the trade title of plumber. Early water distribution systems often had water that was quite high in hardness; this would precipitate out in the distribution and residential pipes as a layer of lime (sometimes so thick that the pipes had to be replaced), and chemically prevented the chemical conversion of the lead metal into lead ions in the water. Utilities added treatment to their water systems and hardness has been steadily declining. The side-effect of this is that lead that had previously been kept in the pipes, the solder joints, and the fittings started to leach out. Hence the requirements for lead-free solder and reduction of lead in fittings. Lead levels in drinking water have risen in some regions; reducing its availability in the plumbing is a significant step in stopping this from occurring. You can check with AWWA members about this.

Now go back a couple millennia. Lead salts were used as a preservative in wine. Credible evidence suggests that a part of the decline and fall of Rome was due to lead poisoning. At least, historians have had some good debates about this.

If we agree that any exposure to lead is deleterious, and I think everyone posting on this site so far can, then taking the steps to eliminate any source that can be controlled is worth while. Since it will take a lot of trouble and time to remove existing environmental exposures, a good step is to minimize the additional exposures that can occur.

Direct biological testing is difficult to do--particularly when we look at the ethics or face the concerns raised by historical records of testing without any informed consent and the problems with testing on non-human species. I spent a couple years full-time as a research chemist and human guinea pig for medical research, so I have some first-hand understanding of this and have seen problems that can occur. Therefore, one tries to do statistical studies on populations. Doing so is difficult, particularly when trying to control for dependent and independent variables, looking at different populations which have been studied under different research protocols, and looking backwards to uncover previously-unseen assumptions or variables.

Our technological environment is riddled with (even flooded with) simultaneous exposures to multiple chemicals, multiple environmental and social stresses, multiple mixtures of stimuli, etc. Pinpointing a single harmful agent from all this and then quantifying the exact effect of it may not be successful. However I am satisfied that enough information exists to give a reasonable goal of eliminating all or virtually all lead from our current environment. We may be "closing the barn door after the horse got out", but there are a lot more horses in that very big barn, so lets close off the lead sources we can and then go after the lead that has already escaped.

--John M.

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#28

Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/06/2013 5:47 PM

I'm still amazed that the consensus seems (in this case) to be adverse response to the removal of lead from water industry materials.

I was horrified some year ago to learn that USA had millions of lead "pig tails" still installed in domestic water supplies and that only notional effort was being made to have them removed and replaced.

The lead issue with water has been well documented by your own scientists. Basically, the lead sources are based on the exposure time of water in the system to local pipe/fitting surfaces.

When the water sits overnight, the concentrations increase and so each property will develop a pattern of contaminated water.

The first cup or so is from whatever lead is in the tap and mixer fittings.

Sometime later there will be a volume of contaminated water from each fitting upstream of the outlet until the house lines have been flushed.

The fittings around the hot water service are also a significant (Potential) source

What I did find concerning in the article was the claims about research costs, development costs and so on. That research has already been done in the Euro zone, in Australia, even in China where many of your fittings will come from. The "bleeding heart" sob story about how difficult this transition will be is a farce.

If this was a Radon source there would be a national campaign to eliminate it without delay. I'm surprised at the general response.

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#29
In reply to #28

Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/06/2013 8:37 PM

(Okay, I had to check back in...)

No, you've gotten it wrong.

The adverse reaction is NOT due to the notion of reducing the lead in the drinking water supply. The reaction is due to this change being made to tighten up regulations that were considered extremely safe less than 20 years ago, and this change is being made with no medical or scientific reasoning being cited as saying this is necessary.

I asked for proof that these tighter restrictions are needed and actually useful. All I've seen in reply are articles that keep restating the bleedingly obvious point that lead is bad for you. Well, no $h1t, Sherlock. But realistically we can't eliminate ALL lead from the environment. The regulations that went info effect in 1997 tightened up the already tight previous standards from 1991.

So I asked simply what is the cost/benefit analysis to the latest change. In other words (a hypothetical example), do we spend a billion dollars to get the level to 5 ppm, or 10 billion dollars to get it to 5 ppm, or 100 billion dollars to get it to 5 ppm, or 10 trillion dollars to get it to 5 ppm -- at what point does the cost/benefit analysis tell us that it makes no economic sense to try to drive the number lower? Are we bankrupting the economy to get the number to 4 ppm? And is that benefit lost in the noise of other environmental toxins? (I.e., maybe the long term effect of PVC pipe is worse than the long term effect of the latest reg's on alloy fixtures containing 0.2% lead.)

Or to put it simply: I don't want some bureaucrat's idealist notion of what's better; show me the science.

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#31
In reply to #29

Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/06/2013 11:43 PM

Thanks for your reply.

What you cite as "already tight" standards from 1991, but they were a compromise. I reviewed studies from the USA for lead contamination because they are one of the last economies where the use of fittings with those levels of lead content are still in use.

I find it interesting that you mentioned PVC. Lead was used significantly in the manufacture of PVC pipe and insulation. The regulations for pipe and wiring insulation have already been amended to remove lead from the composition. (It was apparently used for fire retardant properties and lubrication effect in manufacture.)

Yes there are environmental background levels of lead. Sometimes these are even dangerous. (Research the "red wells" in India and surrounding countries.)

Since the 1990's technology has moved a long way and the means to make reliable (plumbing) joints without solder are now available and lead free solders are also available.

I was surprised that the USA had not implemented a mandate to remove all pure lead "pig tails" from properties in response to previous studies on its own citizens.

I am AMAZED that so many people want to leave a legacy of more lead contaminated pipes, fittings and domestic water services for the generations to come.

I am now also AMAZED that there is so much resistance to implementing a change that will be basically invisible to the consumer, where industry and stockist have had years of notice to make the changes, where the rest of the world has already done the legwork.

I wonder what the reaction would have been if the article was worded in a different context where the headline read

"LEAD CONTAMINATED PRODUCT BEING DUMPED ON UNSUSPECTING AMERICAN CONSUMERS"

and went on to describe how the left-over stock from around the world is being channelled to the USA since it cannot be sold anywhere else.

I might find the time to review the reports again. If I find any suitable links, I'll come back and post them.

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#32
In reply to #31

Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/07/2013 6:17 AM

To enforce a law requiring the removal of all existing lead in piping and and fixtures, would require house to house inspections.

Besides, the plumbing manufacturers are already in compliance with the CA law. I realize that the government likes endless redundancy, but it's getting really expensive, and we can't afford it.

At some point, we are going to have to find a way to enter the human suffering that will come from endlessly expanding debt and a crushed economy into the formula.

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#37
In reply to #32

Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/08/2013 7:02 PM

Kramarat,

I see nothing in the current legislation and rules that requires either inspection or retrofit of existing piping systems and fittings in homes or businesses. I think you err when you worried about To enforce a law requiring the removal of all existing lead in piping and and fixtures. . .

I do know, form my time working for a water/wastewater utility that retrofit was a requirement when the distribution system exceeded lead levels in the late 1990's. Even then, the leaching of lead into the water during periods of stagnation was a real issue, but it was not being addressed by legislation or regulation.

Considering the many comments about the USA being late in these rules compared to many other developed countries, and the quite substantial lead time between the legislation being passed and when its rules were to take effect, I have a lot of trouble with considering this an expense or requirement that is unreasonable.

--JMM

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#38
In reply to #37

Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/09/2013 7:26 AM

I understand your point.

My problem isn't with eliminating lead sources. Unfortunately, over decades, the US government has become corrupt to the point that any legislation must be called into question.

Our congress is comprised of people that have no basic understanding of science, math, economics, etc., and are engaged in a popularity contest of who can siphon more money from Washington to their respective states. They don't bother to read bills, and their one talent, is how to properly apply makeup for the camera.

All of our legislation is written by lobbyists, and is typically designed to either help or hurt specific industries, or specific players within those industries.

All Usbport and I would like to see, is some transparency, clear cut explanations on new legislation, what exactly it is going to accomplish, how it will be accomplished, how much it's going to cost, and who will be paying the cost.

I probably shouldn't be speaking for Usbport, but we're not arguing that we need to keep lead in our water supplies. Not at all.

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#34
In reply to #31

Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/07/2013 7:56 AM

You keep assuming facts not in evidence. Where is the proof that older fixtures are leaching lead into the drinking water?

Have you ever seen old plumbing opened up? The inner walls are lined with a deposit of other minerals already in the drinking water, typically calcium. I'd be willing to guess that, left alone, no lead is leaching out whatsoever from these old pipes.

I'm reminded of the hysteria about asbestos insulation. Eventually people realized it was safe if left undisturbed.

I'm AMAZED that you think this change is invisible to the consumer. I recommend you look up the terms 'broken window fallacy', 'opportunity cost' and 'the law of unintended consequences'.

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#35
In reply to #29

Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/07/2013 10:15 AM

I tend to agree with Justanengineer in many if not all his comments. The prior levels of lead were based on keeping Blood Lead Levels (BBLs) to less than 10μg/dL. That was established in 1991 and was really a compromise as stated. There are observable bad effects with BBLs from 1 to 2 μg/dL. It effects young children, prenatal, and the elderly the most. Highest levels are observed in an elder population. The latest upgrade is an attempt to achieve such standards and the exposure from drinking water is only one such source. Aviation fuel for small aircraft still contain lead and is thought to be the single highest source of lead in the atmosphere. Cigarette smoking will assure an elevated BBL.
The problem with lead in material used for potable water supply is that the levels of lead actually vary and would often be very high after a tap had not been used for several hours. The goal for lead in drinking water is zero but some acceptance is still allowed for samples containing not more than 15 μg/L in the water. Action is required when a supply has 15μg/L and that has been mandated for several decades.
I attach a couple of facts on lead.
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/contaminants/dhhssrl-rpecscepsh/index-eng.php

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/environ/lead-plomb-eng.php
I do not think all the intent is to go retroactive and make cities replace water lines. It is those systems that would consistently exceed the drinking water maximum allowable limits that would be forced to take action. In fact some older systems may have a good deal of encrustation to prevent any migration of lead into the water. Not all though. The rules do address some problems in material and I am for that action. I see no great cost to implement such production but then I do not have actual numbers. If anything it will open up markets where current standards are higher. It will also assure that foreign material would have lower lead content.
In my earlier post, I stated the problem with individual well bores. The geological formation itself can contain elevated level of lead ore. Biofouling can release the lead from the ore and one needs to be aware of the problem. Private individuals are at greater risk because they have to depend on themselves to sample. I doubt if the medical society is aware of the problem with biofouled wells and heavy metals. My two cents (in Canada a nickels worth, we scraped our penny).

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#30

Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/06/2013 10:39 PM

It's hard not to believe that this is how the EPA / Congress often picks new environmental regulations:

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#33
In reply to #30

Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/07/2013 7:39 AM

Probably not. They can't shoot straight.

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#36

Re: Getting the Lead OUT!

05/07/2013 5:45 PM

In response to requests and questions.

Yes, I have seen many pipes removed and opened up. Evaluation of many of them reveals pitting and erosion of pipe and fitting material.

I suppose that the US EPA and others are in error when providing guidelines for running taps for many minutes each time water is left standing for more than 6 hours and even strongly recommending drinking bottled water if the supply system is highly contaminated.

The US EPA site notes "None" as the only known safe level for Lead contamination in water.

http://water.epa.gov/drink/info/lead/

This site might provide some initial data and information that will wet the appetites.

I also read the various revisions of the code for reduction of lead in drinking water. To think that a definition of "lead free" used to mean that it could contain up to 8% lead helps me to understand why you are asking for data.

You may also find that the deposits that were typical of older situations (Where water was extracted from rivers, sand filtered and maybe chlorinated) are currently being reversed due to water softening (pH adjustments) that have been made to modern treatment facilities.

Also, when I reviewed the legislated material there was no indication of ACTIVE retrospective replacement of non-compliant components, but rather a requirement that new or repaired components must conform.

There was also some clarification that the legislation deals with the wetted surface, so other mechanical components are still open to alternate materials.

There was also some clarification for components relating to sewage treatment not needing to conform (provided such components could never be used in potable water delivery).

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