Common method to lower lead levels in drinking water may have opposite effect

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Public Release: 4-Jun-2015

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

New Rochelle, NY, June 4, 2015–New research has shown that pH lowering of municipal water supplies, a common strategy used to control the release of soluble lead from plumbing materials, can affect corrosion of cast iron water mains, resulting in increased levels of both particulate iron and particulate lead in drinking water. The results of intensive laboratory and field testing of samples from a municipal system following consumer complaints of “red water” and the link between iron corrosion and lead leaching are described in an article in Environmental Engineering Science, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Environmental Engineering Science website until July 3, 2015.

In the article “Increased Lead in Water Associated with Iron Corrosion”, Sheldon Masters and Marc Edwards, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, state that the benefits of decreasing lead solubility by reducing the pH of the water supply from about 10.3 to 9.7 can be outweighed by the associated increase in particulate lead levels at the lower pH. As the study demonstrates an interplay between iron corrosion in the water distribution system and mobilization of lead from plumbing systems, the authors suggest that future strategies to reduce lead in drinking water might require infrastructure upgrades or iron control measures, in addition to methods targeting lead solubility.

“This important paper from one of the top research groups in the nation on drinking water quality, highlights previously unquantified health risks by modifying water treatment strategies,” says Domenico Grasso, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Engineering Science and Provost, University of Delaware.


About the Journal

Environmental Engineering Science, the official journal of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors, is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published monthly online with Open Access options. Publishing state-of-the-art studies of innovative solutions to problems in air, water, and land contamination and waste disposal, the Journal features applications of environmental engineering and scientific discoveries, policy issues, environmental economics, and sustainable development including climate change, complex and adaptive systems, contaminant fate and transport, environmental risk assessment and management, green technologies, industrial ecology, environmental policy, and energy and the environment. Tables of content and a sample issue may be viewed on the Environmental Engineering Science website.

About the Association

The Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) is made up of professors in academic programs throughout the world who provide education in the sciences and technologies of environmental protection. The mission of AEESP is to assist its members in the development and dissemination of knowledge in environmental engineering and science. AEESP seeks to strengthen and advance the discipline of environmental science and engineering by providing leadership, promoting cooperation amongst academics and others within and outside the discipline, and serving as a liaison between its membership and other professional societies, governmental agencies, industry and nonprofit organizations.

About the Publisher

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Industrial Biotechnology, Sustainability: The Journal of Record, and Environmental Justice. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry’s most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm’s 80 journals, newsmagazines, and books is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.

Categories: Lethal or Unintended Side Effects

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