Children Who Rely on Private Well Water May be Exposed to More Lead Contamination

Lead is one of the leading contaminants found in drinking water supplies across the United States. However, researchers from the Indiana University believe households with private water wells are the most at risk of higher lead contamination. Over 40 million Americans rely on these private wells and the most vulnerable to the increased lead contamination are children.

In an article published by Indiana University, children who rely on private wells as thier water sources are 25% more likely to have elevated blood lead levels. Lead can cause major developmental issues with children, cause lower IQ’s, and an increase in behavioral problems. Since the 1970’s efforts have been made to reduce the footprint of lead but children still remain at high risk to exposure. 

“Recent crises like the one in Flint, Michigan, have put a spotlight on lead in city drinking water,” explained Jackie MacDonald Gibson, who is the author the study. “She goes on to exclaim “But children getting their water from private wells have been overlooked as a population at risk of lead exposure from their drinking water.” 

Higher levels of blood lead concentrations in children can be found in lower income households. Increased exposure in these homes is due to the corrosion of plumbing systems and well components. These issues are regulated in community water systems but not private wells and are up to the land owner to make the required repairs.

In regards to the increasing lead issue Gibson stated that “No level of exposure is safe” and it’s “an issue that must continue to be addressed.”

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