Corrosion Is a Really Important Safety Issue with Lead


Plumbing systems in older homes were often made with lead pipes,which can corrode and corrupt the water supply. With contaminated water, using the kitchen faucet to grab yourself a drink or using the bathroom faucet to rinse your toothbrushcould be dangerous. The best way to protect populations from corroding lead pipes is for water treatment facilities to use corrosion inhibitors.

The World Health Organization labels lead as one of the top ten chemicals of major public health concern because of the harm it can bring to a general population, even in small doses. The toxic substance is especially dangerous for children and pregnant women. With young children, exposure to lead can cause permanent development issues relating to the brain and nervous system. Pregnant women can suffer miscarriages, stillbirths or premature births.

Other adults are at risk of suffering abdominal pains, mood disorders, headaches, memory problems and high blood pressure. The exposure can also impact the virility in men, reducing their sperm count.

The most notable case of lead-contaminated water that’s going on right now is in Flint, Michigan. The region hasn’t had safe drinking water for almost 5 years — the state of emergency was first announced in April 2014.

Expert Terese Olson, an Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan, stated that one of the underlying causes of the Flint water crisis was avoiding corrosion inhibitors in the water treatment process. The decision was made to trim down costs.

The corrosion inhibitors would have cost an estimated $140 per day. The resulting catastrophe proved that the chemical solutions are well-worth the expense. It will cost the area an estimated $1.5 billion just to replace lead lines leading to households. The high price does not include additional expenses like unpaid water bills, healthcare bills, wage losses and bottled water.

Water treatment facilities that deal with municipalities that have old lead plumbing systems should get effective corrosion inhibitors as soon as possible. A supplier like CCC Chemicals will have an excellent selection of corrosion inhibitors sourced from a variety of manufacturers.

One of their options is Orthophosphates, which can form a protective coating on the insides of lead surfaces. The coating prevents corrosion and harmful contamination. The substance is currently being used by Hamilton water services to combat lead in drinking water while their service line replacement program slowly goes forward.

The chemical supplier has more corrosion inhibitors for lead and other plumbing materials like copper and galvanized steel. If you work at a water treatment facility, you should click here to browse through their full portfolio of solutions or contact a representative to find out what inhibitor works best with your region’s treatment system and water supply.

Inserting corrosion inhibitors into the treatment plan isn’t the only step to safe drinking water. Facilities have to practice vigilance and monitor the water delivered to the local population.If anything can be learned from the situation in Flint, Michigan, it’s that neglect will bring harmful and expensive consequences.

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