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City of Toronto research: lead pipe replacement program is creating a toxic situation

When your mother warned you not to use hot water for making baby formula, she wasn’t just relaying an old wives’ tale. Despite the fact that hot water boils much faster than cold, running hot water through your pipes can leach impurities and dirt into the water, which is then consumed. Among these impurities is lead. Many people think these fears are outdated, because lead pipes aren’t installed in new buildings.

However, lead pipes are still present in older buildings and until the mid-1980s, non-lead piping was still soldered with lead.

The City of Toronto is in the midst of a massive multi-million dollar lead pipe abatement project that has partially replaced a lot of the city’s lead pipes – but only on city property. Homeowners are still responsible for having their own homes inspected for lead.

However, this project might be making the problem much worse, as recent research out of Virginia Tech University proves that only partially removing lead pipes – and replacing some of them with copper – can increase the concentration of lead in the water. This is because where the two materials meet, lead is more likely to flake off or corrode in greater amounts. Toronto’s project is now halted while they investigate the research. Similar lead pipe abatement projects in the United States have also been at a standstill since the research was reported in March of this year. Homeowners who have only partially replaced their lead piping may also be facing the same consequences.

One can easily avoid running hot tap water into a pot to make dinner. But when one considers showering, hand washing and other activities that require hot water, it’s easy to see how lead can be absorbed into the body. Children are at a higher risk because of their tendency to put their hands in their mouths and because of the effects lead has on their developing brains.

This is why having your home’s water and paint tested for lead is doubly important – to ensure that your home is either lead-free or that the lead is adequately contained. Whether it is lead piping or lead paint, both were once extremely common in Ontario homes and as evidenced by the research, even the partial abatement of lead can be an incorrect and dangerous solution. A professional lead inspection can help you determine what steps can be taken to better protect yourself and your family.

Lead Testing in Toronto, Acton, Ajax, Barrie, Brampton, Brantford, Cambridge, Etobicoke, Georgetown, Halton Hills, Kitchener, Markham, Milton, Mississauga, North York, Oakville, Richmond Hill, Peel Region, Scarborough, Thornhill, Vaughan, Waterloo, Whitby, York Region Ontario.

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