Friday, February 15, 2008

In Hot Water

According to recent studies, so much can be said for what's really in our "everyday" hot water. In addition, the claim that one should never drink hot water from the tap bears the ring of a myth, although environmental scientists say that the myth -- is very real.

The reason is that hot water dissolves contaminants more quickly than cold water, and many pipes in homes contain lead that can leach into water. And lead can damage the brain and nervous system, especially in young children.

Lead is rarely found in source water, but can enter it through corroded plumbing. The Environmental Protection Agency says that older homes are more likely to have lead pipes and fixtures, but that even newer plumbing advertised as “lead-free” can still contain as much as 8 percent lead. A study published in The Journal of Environmental Health in 2002 found that tap water represented 14 to 20 percent of total lead exposure.

Scientists emphasize that the risk is small. But to minimize it, the EPA says cold tap water should always be used for preparing baby formula, cooking and drinking. It also warns that boiling water does not remove lead but can actually increase its concentration. More information is at the EPA website or (800) 424-5323.


Pouring cold water on the situation...can actually be a good thing.


Lara said...

Okay, that is FREAKY! I always worry about what's in tap water, so we've used filtered for more than a decade, and our kids aren't getting flouride!

Can't win.

Lynn Sinclair said...

A long time ago, I used to put hot water into my kettle for tea -- I figured it would boil faster. Well, I did that until I had the hydro guy in to flush out the pipe (we were getting a water softener installed). The color of the stuff that washed through that pipe was disgusting. And I'd been drinking it!