Ask the doctors: How do I know about lead in water

Q: Ever since the news about lead in the drinking water in Flint, Mich., I’ve wondered about the water in my own home.
Should I be worried?
Lead is a highly toxic metal that has a detrimental effect on virtually every system in the human body.
Children, with their developing brains and nervous systems, are particularly vulnerable to the effects of lead.
The neurological damage caused by lead is believed to be irreversible.
That means the lead you ingest stays in the body and, as exposure continues, blood levels increase.
In 1986, two years before your home was built, the Safe Drinking Water Act significantly reduced the amount of lead permitted for use in plumbing fixtures, including pipes and solder.
You will also want to find out whether your water supplier is in compliance with federal lead contamination regulations.
Should you wish to test your own water, the Environmental Protection Agency has a list of certified labs on its website.
If you believe your water supply is contaminated with lead, the EPA suggests the following: Flush your pipes for 30 seconds to two minutes before using water for drinking or cooking.

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