New source of lead in drinking water identified: Galvanized steel pipe coatings

July 22, 2015, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc

When unsafe levels of lead are found in drinking water, the culprit has typically been lead pipes or lead-containing brass and bronze fittings, but in a new study researchers clearly show that lead present in the zinc coating of galvanized steel pipes can be a very significant long-term source of lead in water. Copper piping installed upstream of a galvanized steel pipe can worsen lead release from the steel's zinc coating, according to the study published in Environmental Engineering Science.

In "Lead Release to Drinking Water form Galvanized Steel Pipe Coatings," Brandi Clark, Sheldon Vaughn Masters, and Marc Edwards, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, analyzed water samples from homes with galvanized steel pipes in several cities across the U.S. In some cases the lead levels were greater than 100 µg/L. In simulated laboratory tests the concentration of lead in water found through galvanized steel pipes reached a maximum of 172 µg/L, which is more than 10 times the action level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"The Edwards' laboratory is well known for uncovering risks associated with concentrations of lead in urban water supplies," says Domenico Grasso, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Engineering Science and Provost, University of Delaware. "This latest important paper from this research group has identified galvanized pipes as a potentially significant source of lead."

Explore further: Common method to lower lead levels in drinking water may have opposite effect

More information: online.liebertpub.com/doi/full … 0.1089/ees.2015.0073

Related Stories

Lead leaching and faucet corrosion in PVC home plumbing

June 2, 2008

Scientists in Virginia are reporting that home plumbing systems constructed with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic pipes may be more susceptible to leaching of lead and copper into drinking water than other types of piping ...

Drinking water from plastic pipes - is it harmful?

November 8, 2011

Pipe-in-pipe systems are now commonly used to distribute water in many homes. The inner pipe for drinking water is made of a plastic called cross-linked polyethylene (PEX). Are these pipes harmful to health and do they affect ...

Recommended for you

Afromontane forests and climate change

January 17, 2019

In the world of paleoecology, little has been known about the historical record of ecosystems in the West African highlands, especially with regard to glacial cycles amidst a shifting climate and their effects on species ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.