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Lead Pipes

Lead service lines (LSL, also known as lead service pipe, and lead connection pipe) are pipes made of lead that were used in potable water distribution to connect a water main to a user’s premises. Lead pipes were commonly used from the late 1800s until it was phased out by government regulation like the Lead-Copper Rule. Lead poisoning is caused by touching, eating or drinking things with lead in them or breathing in dust with lead in it; this mostly happens if you live near an old house where they might have put paint with high levels of lead on the walls and windowsills. Lead can stay in your body for tens of years and make you very sick before you know it. Lead is bad for children because their bodies are growing quickly, so even small amounts of lead in their blood can make them sick. Lead is bad for adults too because it damages the brain and causes many health problems. Exposure to high levels of lead can also cause death if not treated. Lead-based paint was banned by Congress in 1978 when it became apparent that children who had played in buildings with peeling or flaking paint on walls were being poisoned by chips of paint that they ate, along with dust from the paint.

Why Are Lead Pipes Dangerous?

Lead pipes are dangerous because lead makes water unsafe for drinking or cooking. Lead can get into water through corrosion at joints between sections of pipe, but there are ways to test the amount of lead present before changing how water is managed in order to reduce risk. There have been widespread lead exposures resulting from failures of corrosion control, such as the Flint water crisis. Lead-based paint is only dangerous when it starts to peel or chip, so if you think there could be lead in your home’s walls and windowsills, call a lead poisoning prevention program for help with testing and removing it. Repiping is often done in homes and buildings containing lead or polybutylene pipes.

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