Dangerous legacy: Complete replacement of lead water pipes now
Water containing lead not suitable for infants, toddlers, and pregnant mothers
It has been known for years that lead is harmful to health, yet water pipes made of lead are still widespread in many older buildings. The result can be increased lead concentrations in drinking water, in some cases above the limit value of 10 microgrammes lead/litre of drinking water (µg/L) in effect as of 2013. There is evidence that roughly 3 percent of households with children aged 3-14 will not comply with this cap in future, as recently shown in the Federal Environment Agency’s (UBA) Kinder-Umwelt-Survey [Children Environment Survey]. Infants and toddlers are highly sensitive to lead, and therefore drinking water from lead pipes is not suitable for the preparation of their food. Pregnant mothers should not consume it either, whether the water has been stagnant in pipes for long periods of time or is fresh from the tap. Harmful effects to health can be reliably avoided if old pipes in buildings are replaced with those made of certified materials. More suitable materials are plastics, stainless steel or copper certified by the DVGW German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water. UBA President Prof. Dr. Andreas Troge announced, ”The upcoming remedial work to achieve improved heat insulation provides a good opportunity to eliminate lead from old buildings once and for all”. A free UBA brochure (in German) provides tips and advice: Trink was - Trinkwasser aus dem Hahn [Drinking water from the tap ].