WaterSafe is backing an international lead awareness campaign and urging UK homeowners to be 'lead aware' when it comes to making sure their drinking water stays safe.
The call comes during Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (23-29 October 2016), a campaign led by the World Health Organisation to raise awareness of the devastating effects of lead on both people and places.
The installation of new lead pipes to supply drinking water and the use of lead solder to join pipes has been banned in the UK for more than 25 years.
However, it is still possible to buy lead solder and cases of lead poisoning have still been recorded following its use by DIY enthusiasts or unqualified plumbers who are unaware of the danger.
Julie Spinks, Director of WaterSafe, said: “Lead solder is about half the price of lead-free solder, so there is still a temptation for some to use it on plumbing pipes and materials which supply drinking water. However, lead is known to be a harmful and can pose a health risk if too high a concentration is ingested.
“We would encourage anyone having work done on their household plumbing to visit our website and find trusted and qualified plumbers who have undergone specific training in the Water Fitting Regulations and Byelaws.”
There are strict laws governing the amount of lead in drinking water and water companies regularly carry out tests on their own pipe networks and in customers’ homes.
Homes built before 1970 may have lead pipes so homeowners who believe they may have them are advised to contact their local water company for advice. The company may carry out a test to check the levels of lead in the water and will offer advice on replacing the pipes with new copper or plastic ones approved for supplying drinking water.
For more information on looking after water in your home read Water UK's leaflet or visit your local water company’s website.
WaterSafe was set up by the water companies in the UK to help keep everyone’s water supplies safe and healthy.