water from lead pipes

Can anyone shed light on the risk factor of using water from lead pipes for hand washing, cleaning etc. ? I'm being told at my new work location to not drink the water, but I'm concerned about the safety issue of absorbing this water through skin contact. They are providing us with a filtered water system for drinking but I am not confident that sufficient lead will be removed. Having heard/read a number of times about the high incidence rate of PD among jobs related to chemical and pesticide exposure, I'm nervous! Please advise if you can. thanks

4 Replies

  • I think the recomendation is, if your drinking water comes through lead pipes is to draw off a bowl full in a morning before filling a kettle. If it is at your workplace, I suppose it depends how much involvement you have in working with the water, i.e. washing up, cleaning etc. if s,o then wear rubber gloves.

    If you just use the water for handwashing it should be safe enough to use.

    It depends on how old the lead pipes are too, and the kind of water that comes through i.e. soft or hard water. some old lead pipes can be damaged badly inside.

    If the drinking water goes through a filtering system it depends on how good that system is.

  • What water have they provided for drinking and can you use that?

    I have not seen any evidence about lead absorption through the skin causing problems of toxicity or Parkinson's and I can't imagine you absorb much when washing your hands. As Owdsod suggests, you could let it run a bit before you wash and that at least will eliminate the water which has been sitting in the pipes, dissolving the lead from the system. Not much will be dissolved by water flowing through quickly.

  • The lead pipe should be removed as it is a health and safety problem. Lead will eventually absorb through the skin. Is there a sign telling people "not to drink the water" ? Is your filtered supply of water going through the same pipework ?

    If the building is old all the pipes may be of lead ?

    You are also relying on every-one else to adhere to the rule/does some-one else fill the kettle from this source as it is quicker/easier etc...

    A quick phone call to your local health and safety done anonymously may send them round. They will be able to do a proper Investigation.

    If the supply of water "to wash your hands" is coming from with-in the building it is more likely to be connected to other pipes ! IE :- It is not taking the water away to a drain outlet.

    Please remember lead has been removed from Petrol/paint for negative health reasons.

    Washing your hands should be ok, but depends on how many times you wash your hands a day.

    PS :- You can not filter lead out of water by any means except using harsh Industrial chemicals and filters in factories/workplaces etc..

    Take wet wipes or anti-bacterial gels etc... if you are that worried.

    Hope this helps

  • thanks everyone! I moved to an elementary school built in the 1930's. The pipes are lead. A water filtering machine was provided for drinking but I'm uneasy not knowing how effective it is, so I bring my own drinking water. As a Pre-K teacher I end up washing my hands frequently - we paint, use clay, etc. And 4 year-olds always like to share their germs. I appreciate all of your input.

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