Toxic lead has been found in Lititz drinking water (in Lititz Borough, Warwick Township, and Rothsville) and older Lititz homes and buildings. Lead can cause permanent physical harm to women, children, and fetuses. Below are 9 things you need to know:
ONE: Lead used to be given to women as an abortion pill.
TWO: Lead in drinking water has been linked to miscarriages, fetal death, and low birth weights. A 2014 study by Virginia Tech’s Marc Edwards showed an association between exposure to lead-contaminated drinking water and a rise in fetal death rates and reduced birth rates in Washington, D.C. in the wake of elevated water lead levels. Lead even in low levels can cause miscarriage.
THREE: Children in the Lititz area have a higher level of lead poisoning than kids in Flint, even after they switched to Flint River water.
FOUR: Lead can cause permanent and severe neurological damage in children and has been linked to delays in speech and cognition, behavioral disorders, ADHD. In adults, exposure to lead is linked to high blood pressure, kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. If your child has any of these conditions, they may have current or prior exposure to lead. You should request a blood lead level test and save their baby teeth, as they can be tested for lead levels.
FIVE: DO NOT PREPARE INFANT FORMULA WITH TAP WATER. If you suspect lead is present. DO NOT BOIL WATER, as it increases the concentration of lead in water. Lead in water is especially dangerous to formula-fed infants and children, as it is a larger part of their diet compared to body weight. Water filters certified to remove lead from tap water may be purchased.
SIX: DO NOT OPEN WINDOWS AS BREEZES CAN BLOW LEAD DUST FROM SILLS INTO LIVING SPACE in homes that have lead paint, which can dramatically increase a child’s exposure to lead. Anyplace two surfaces rub together causing friction can release invisible lead dust into the air and onto the floor where children play.
SEVEN: Lead leaches into water usually from pipes between the street and the tap as a result of corrosive water that passes through the pipes. Lead is rarely found in the source water. Lititz treats for corrosive water. Lead levels in tap water vary from home to home, school to school, and season to season. Lead levels are typically highest in the summer, but dangerous levels of lead can come out of the tap at any time. Lead levels may dramatically increase in homes where repair to water mains or sewers takes place, even if the repairs are blocks away.
EIGHT: Homes that are at highest risk for lead in drinking water have lead pipes, lead gooseneck connectors, or copper pipes with lead solder. The Borough recently released a list of 300 Lititz Borough homes where lead goose neck connectors deliver water to customers. The state recently issued Lititz Borough a violation notice and Warwick Township a violation notice for failing to adequately identify and test homes at highest risk for lead in tap water. Rather than test the required 30 homes in Warwick’s Lititz system, township manager Dan Zimmerman double-tested his own home and double-dipped at four homes belonging to township employees, contractors, and the Severn Trent supervisor of the water supply. VA Tech’s Marc Edwards believes Warwick’s practice is “unethical” and “illegal,” and that previous 90th percentile lead levels reported to Lititz consumers in the annual drinking water report are “worthless,” since the proper homes were not tested.
NINE: FREE LEAD WATER TESTING is available: If your child has an elevated blood lead level or you live in a higher-risk home and live under the poverty level, you may be eligible for a free water test through independent testing supervised by LititzDailyNews.com, which VA Tech’s Marc Edwards and his team will analyze. Other homes may be tested at the cost of the VA Tech test kit. Contact LititzDailyNews through Facebook @LititzDaily to see if you qualify. This testing is NOT part of the free municipal water testing which is scheduled to take place this summer that is limited in number. Warwick Township is still seeking volunteers to participate in their free lead testing who live in higher-risk homes. You do not need to be the homeowner to have your water tested.