Lead Water Lines

Lead Exposure from Tap Water Poses Real Health Risks to Americans

Lead is a neurotoxin that causes irreversible health problems. According to the CDC, there is not a safe level of lead exposure for children. The EPA shows that low levels of exposure in children are linked to damage to the brain and nervous system, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing, and harm to blood cells. Adults suffer from cardiovascular disease and adverse impacts on reproduction and the kidneys, among other harmful health effects.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the Lead and Copper Rule, setting health standards for lead and copper in drinking water in 1991. In 2018, Congress required that the EPA develop an estimated number of lead pipes and the cost to replace them for each state by 2022. (See Safe Drinking Water Act Section 1452(h)(2)). The EPA is required to obtain these data from the states as part of its 2022 quadrennial “needs survey” for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). The DWSRF provides grants to states to pay for drinking water infrastructure; a few states have used a small amount of these funds for lead service line replacements.