7 On Your Side: Why you should test your water faucet for lead

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7 On Your Side takes a look at what you can do to ease any fears you have about lead in their water. (KGO-TV)

Concerns over high lead levels in the water and the ongoing health crisis in Flint, Michigan has some homeowners in the Bay Area concerned about the water in their own homes.

7 On Your Side takes a look at what you can do to ease any fears. The Bay Area's two largest water agencies have seen a slight increase in calls about lead since the news about Flint broke. Here's what you can do to protect yourself and your family.

Betsy Rhodes from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission said, "Everybody needs to worry. You don't want lead in your drinking water, period. No matter how old you are."

That's the blunt warning from Rhodes. Four counties in the Bay Area get their water from Hetch Hetchy. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and East Bay Municipal Utility District replaced their lead water pipes in the 1980s. The agencies say their testing found no detectable levels of lead in their drinking water, but that doesn't mean your home is free of any lead danger.

Rhodes said, "The most common source of that would be old plumbing fixtures."

In Washington D.C. Thursday, a committee held a congressional hearing on the Flint water crisis. Among those testifying was the Oakland-based Center for Environmental Health.

Michael Green from the Center for Environmental Health said, "Across the country, people of color and low income communities remain unfairly at great risk from cancer-causing chemicals, chemicals that cause acute and chronic health problems."

Green called for greater resources to deal with the issue on a national level. Here's what you can do to protect yourself. Contact your local water agency and inquire about lead testing. In San Francisco you can request a lead test kit for $25.

"What you're supposed to do is the tap that you're concerned about, don't use the tap for 6-12 hours before this test," Rhodes said.

Fill the bottle up with water and you should get your test results back in two to four weeks. Last year less than 10 percent of the test conducted discovered any lead in the drinking water.

Here are links to information from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and EBMUD on lead testing.

East Bay Municipal Utility District water quality information

Click here to check out San Francisco water quality. Click on the lead information, and all the numbers, emails, contact information about lead testing is there.

If a homeowner is concerned about the lead levels in their water, please contact your water provider.

The SFPUC says they have been working for decades to remove all lead-containing plumbing components in their system and to optimize corrosion control in order to minimize the level of lead that could enter into the drinking water system.
Related Topics:
healthwaterdrinking watercontaminated waterSan Francisco Public Utilities Commission7 On Your SideSan Francisco
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