BRITONS are being told to turn on taps for two minutes before drinking or cooking to protect their families from poisoning.

It comes after experts warned that a certain deadly metal could be present in some water sources in the UK.


The risk of lead poisoning for most people is very low because it is not commonly used in everyday products as it once wasAuthor: Getty

In a letter sent to people living in a block of flats in Lambeth, London, the council warned that the lead levels was found in the drinking water of residents.

It comes just weeks after Britons were ordered to ration water as experts warned Britain was experiencing drought.

Exposure to lead can be particularly harmful to unborn babies and young children.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), lead poisoning can lower the IQ of children and cause an increase in antisocial behavior.

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It can also cause miscarriage and lifting blood pressure in adults.

The block of flats has lead pipes which had to be replaced by July after half the flats were told their tap water had elevated lead levels.

Dorchester Court residents have since installed lead filters on their taps, but they are still waiting for the pipes to be replaced.

Lambeth The council said: “The public health message to residents is to follow flushing advice even if filters are in place.

“Thames Water has previously confirmed that the filters do help to reduce lead levels in the water, but this is not a long-term solution and the flushing advice remains in place.”

Lead poisoning occurs when lead enters the body, most often when small amounts of lead are consumed – usually unknowingly – over time.

They can accumulate and cause health problems.

What are the symptoms of lead poisoning in children?

Exposure to lead can be harmful, especially for young children. This is because children tend to absorb more lead than adults.

Children tend to absorb more lead than adults because of growing bones and other organs that can deposit lead.

Signs and symptoms in young children may include:

  • irritability and fatigue
  • loss of appetite and weight loss
  • abdominal pain
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • hearing loss
  • developmental delay and learning difficulties

Although children are at increased risk of lead poisoning and can become seriously ill, adults are also at risk.

Symptoms in adults may include:

  • high blood pressure
  • abdominal pain
  • constipation
  • joint and muscle pain
  • pain, numbness or tingling in the extremities
  • headache
  • miscarriage or premature birth in pregnant women
  • fatigue
  • memory loss

Causes of lead poisoning

The risk of lead poisoning for most people is very small, as lead is not commonly used in as many everyday products these days as it once was.

In the past, lead was used to make paint, gasoline, and food containers, among other things.

This means that the risk of lead poisoning for most people is now very low.

However, one of the main potential risks can be through drinking tap water if your property has lead pipes, a lead water tank or pipework with lead fittings.

In some cases, this can lead to lead contamination of the water.

How to prevent lead poisoning

The newer your home is, the less likely it is to have lead pipes installed.

If your home was built before 1970, there may be a small chance that the pipe that connects your home to the water line outside is made of lead.

To find out if your property has lead pipes, you can check a few places, including under the kitchen sink and at the indoor shutoff valve, which is usually where the water enters your home.

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Pay attention to:

  • unpainted lead pipes are dull gray and have rounded swollen joints where they join other pipes
  • lead pipes are soft and if you scrape them gently you will see the shiny silvery metal underneath
  • tapping a lead pipe with a metal object will produce a dull thud rather than the clear ring produced by copper or iron pipes

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