Why is lead a health risk?

Lead is a toxic metal that can cause immediate health effects at high doses and long-term health effects if it builds up in the body over many years. Lead can cause brain and kidney damage in addition to adverse effects on the blood and vitamin D metabolism. Pregnant women and young children are particularly vulnerable because the physical and behavioral effects of lead occur at lower exposure levels in children than in adults. In children, low levels of exposure have been linked to central and peripheral nervous system damage, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing, and impaired formation and function of blood cells. While people are more commonly exposed to lead through paint, soil and dust, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates infants who consume mixed formula can receive 40% to 60% of their exposure to lead from drinking water.

Show All Answers

1. What is lead?
2. What is its history in water plumbing?
3. Do the mains and service lines in Chesterfield County contain lead?
4. Why is lead a health risk?
5. How do I know whether my drinking water contains lead?
6. How does lead get into drinking water?
7. How much lead in water is too much?
8. What can I do to reduce or eliminate lead from my drinking water?
9. Are there special steps I should take to protect my developing baby, infant or young children?
10. Is it safe to shower in water that contains lead?
11. What does Chesterfield County Utilities do to protect my household from lead?
12. I’m in a new house, am I at risk?
13. Do all home filters and other water treatment devices remove lead?
14. Can my pets drink water with lead?
15. Is water the only source of lead in homes and businesses?