Parents are being warned to run taps for at least 30 seconds before filling up baby bottles because their tap water might contain lead.
Government officials warned over the weekend that our tap water may actually be making us very, very sick.
The scariest part of this warning? Babies and formula-drinking toddlers are most at risk!
Tap water warning: It’s all about the brass.
Turns out, the brass plumbing fittings are to blame. The lead from the brass can dissolve into the water, leading to an increased risk of lead poisoning.
Exposure to lead comes with some pretty serious health conditions including brain development problems in children and damage to digestive, cardiovascular, renal and reproductive functions in anyone exposed.
According to an Environmental Health Standing Committee (enHealth) report, published in the Herald Sun on the weekend,
Infants who drink formula prepared with lead-contaminated water may be at a higher risk because of the large volume of water they consume relative to their body size.”
What should we be doing?
Government officials are now asking all residents to take action to protect themselves and their families.
- Run your tap water for at least 30 seconds before using water for drinking or cooking in the morning
- Run your tap water for at least two to three minutes before using water for drinking and cooking after coming back from a holiday
Scary right? But here’s the kicker – this health warning was actually confirmed SIX months ago. And the public is just getting wind of it now.
Why didn’t we know?
Like many Australians, I have questions. Like WHY weren’t we told about this before? It would have been great to know this information ASAP rather than now worry that we’ve been putting our families are risk all this time.
Next question? Why are we letting our pumps poison us?
The Herald Sun reports that Dr Paul Harvey of Macquarie University studied hundred of household taps in 2016. He found that one in 12 household taps had levels above the maximum allowable level of 0.01 micrograms per 100ml.
Levels of lead in water was “something that’s been a problem for years,” Dr Harvey says.
The World Health Organisation has said that no level of exposure is safe, but Australia has one of the highest lead content limits for their brass fitting – 4.5 per cent.
This super high limit was set in the 1990s and is well ABOVE most countries’ limits and the international standards, which is an incredibly worrying thing.
And it’s not just in the home too – even our public and school bubblers are at risk of lead contamination.
Time to lower our lead content
So why are we so behind in this? What in the world in going on with our water?
According to federal Health Minister Greg Hunt’s office, Australia is working towards sorting this out ASAP.
“enHealth has recommended that the allowable level of lead in plumbing products in Australia be reduced to align with international standards,” Mr Hunt says.
But until something is done, make sure you are running those taps mums and dads! And perhaps consider a filtration system too, especially during summer when our need for extra water reaches an all-time high.