Written by Quang Minh Dang
Poison. It sounds scary, and it should raise some alarm. In particular, we have heard about lead poisoning and how it has affected Flint, Michigan. Many assume they are safe from the hazard; however, it should be known that lead poisoning is not as uncommon as generally perceived in the United States. In fact, lead poisoning is happening here in California, and many of us may or may not be aware of its effects, where it is happening, or how to deal with it. According to Reuters, a news agency company, there are “high rates of childhood exposure found in a swath of the Bay Area and downtown Los Angeles” .
Lead contamination is considered to have negative effects when “the lead level exceeds 15 parts per billion (ppb)” . Such a low concentration alone means that any slight contamination of a water source could be detrimental. Because of this, it is best to try prevent that contamination in the first place, especially in the home. While the main way to prevent lead poisoning is to remove the lead pipes and fixtures from the house and water system, this is a long process that can be very expensive to both the city and homeowner. There are other techniques to remove lead from water, such as filtration, which has been proven to succeed. Some things that you should look for when determining how to filter lead out of water include checking for whether filters are certified by either NSF International, the California Environmental Protection Agency, or the Water Quality Association . Keep in mind that you should be looking for products that are proven to filter out lead and that taking the extra step can help to maintain healthy organs in the body.
Before jumping to the conclusion that you have lead poisoning, however, you are going to need a diagnosis. Ways to obtain a diagnosis include blood tests which can easily detect the lead level in your bloodstream. It is very important to know, however, that “there is no safe blood level of lead” . If you ever find yourself or someone in a situation with lead poisoning, seek medical attention immediately. With low enough lead levels, “simply avoiding exposure to lead might be enough to reduce blood lead levels” . There are also two detailed methods for determining how to deal with lead poisoning. The first is Chelation Therapy in which medication that binds to lead allows for it to be excreted through urine . The second therapy is very similar, except it is Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) Chelation Therapy, using EDTA instead of the conventional drug for Chelation Therapy .
Lead poisoning can be bad for you in any quantity and can lead to birth defects, health issues, and even death. You should always be aware of where your water comes from, and be proactive and alert. This can be done by actively checking your water through testing and getting blood tests for everyone in the family. Be healthy and lead by example!
 "Lead poisoning afflicts neighborhoods across California." 2017. MDLinx. M3 USA Corporation.
 Boyle, Megan. 2016. "How to Filter Lead from your Tap Water." Healthy Child Healthy World.
 "Diagnosis" Lead Poisoning. Mayo Clinic.
 "Treatment" Lead Poisoning. Mayo Clinic.