Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | November 11, 2008

Lawyer Sanders says U.S. EPA finds high lead levels in drinking water wells in North Whitehall Township in Lehigh, PA.

U.S. EPA is supplying bottled water to residents of North Whitehall Township in Lehigh, Pennsylvania, whose private drinking water wells contains elevated concentrations of leads.  The affected residents live on property formerly owned by Mohr Orchards or other commercial fruit growers.

EPA conducted water sampling from about 75 randomly selected homes in the area as part of an investigation into arsenic soil contamination from pesticide use on the former farming property. Testing was also done for lead, which was also used in some pesticides. Results of those tests so far show 47 homes with elevated lead levels above 11 parts per billion, a precautionary action level set for this site.

 

EPA acknowledges that lead results in wells used for drinking water ranged from non-detection to 604 parts per billion. All test results are preliminary, and action is being taken to be precautionary and protective. Retesting is needed to confirm and further understand these results.

Until all wells in the area can be tested, EPA is recommending that area well water users use bottled water for drinking, cooking and preparing baby formula. Residents can still use private well water for washing and bathing. Additionally, EPA is recommending that women who are pregnant and families with infants should rinse their dishes with bottled water.

 Lead is a poisonous metal that can damage nervous connections (especially in young children) and cause blood and brain disorders.  The main target for lead toxicity is the nervous system, both in adults and children. Long-term exposure of adults to lead at work has resulted in decreased performance in some tests that measure functions of the nervous system. Lead exposure may also cause weakness in fingers, wrists, or ankles. Lead exposure also causes small increases in blood pressure, particularly in middle-aged and older people. Lead exposure may also cause anemia. At high levels of exposure, lead can severely damage the brain and kidneys in adults or children and ultimately cause death. In pregnant women, high levels of exposure to lead may cause miscarriage. High-level exposure in men can damage the organs responsible for sperm production.

 

Water contamination can be tested with commercially available kits.

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