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Lead is a toxic metal that can be found in houses where there is corrosion of old pipes, lead combining solders, taps or brass fittings. The level of lead leaching into the plumbing system also depends on the level of acidity in the water, the mineral levels and how long water is left in the pipes for.

Although exposure to lead through water is thought to be the least harmful way to suffer the effects of lead in your body, long term exposure can have damaging effects on humans. Young children and pregnant women are most at risk if it is ingested or inhaled. It is therefore important to find out whether or not you may be at increased risk in your East York home.

Physical effects of lead

Lead can damage

• The nervous system
• Kidneys
• Brain
• Reproductive systems
• It can also cause high blood pressure and anaemia
• Children are most at risk of suffering from a build-up of lead in the system.

Problems include all of the above with an increased risk of developmental problems both physically and mentally.

Do I have lead in my home?

Some things you can do: –

1. Check inside your home – Find the pipe leading to the kitchen tap; this maybe in the kitchen cupboards or perhaps under the stairs. See how much of the pipe is made out of lead; if it is dull grey and when scratched on the surface appears shiny then it most likely is. A plumber will be able to carry out this check for you if you are uncertain.

2. Look around the outside of your East York house – find the stop valve leading into your house. This might not always be easily accessible but again a plumber or a water company can help you.

If you suspect there may be lead in the water then there are home test kits available to give you a more accurate idea. For a more reliable measurement you can contact a water company or you can use a private laboratory. Water companies will be able to conduct a free test and also tell you whether or not there is a history of lead in the water in your local area.

Short-term solutions if you have lead in your Toronto property: –

• Do not drink water that has been standing in the pipes overnight or longer
• Draw off a sink full of water before using the taps as you normally would
• Do not cook with hot water as this is more likely to contain lead

Replacing lead pipes

The long term solution is of course, replacing all necessary pipes. The pipes in your home are your responsibility and therefore you will have to foot the bill for this. The water company involved are legally obliged to replace the communication pipe (the pipe that connects the water main in the street to the stop valve outside your property) so it is advisable to let them know the situation. Bear in mind that you will have to meet the necessary criteria involved for them to replace this pipe free of charge. You will have to apply in writing, agree to pay for the pipes within your home, arrange for a local East York plumber to replace the pipework, and there must be test results to show the level of drinking water is above the acceptable amount.

Finally, if you are planning to buy a new property and are concerned about the level of lead, you should ask your surveyor to include this in their report.

Mister Plumber specializing in East York, Toronto, ON sewer repair, drain cleaning, re-piping and emergency plumbing, Mister Plumber uses the latest technology to effectively troubleshoot and quickly repair any plumbing problem and offers a fast response and free estimates. Call us 416 939 1530 or fill the form for Online Free Estimate.

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