Research reveals new long-term source of lead in drinking water
According to a new study, lead present in the zinc coating of galvanized steel pipes can contribute to a significant long-term source of lead in water.
In "Lead Release to Drinking Water form Galvanized Steel Pipe Coatings," Brandi Clark, Sheldon Vaughn Masters and Marc Edwards (Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA) analyzed water samples from homes with galvanized steel pipes in several cities across the United States.
According to the study (here), copper piping installed upstream of a galvanized steel pipe can worsen lead release from the steel's zinc coating.
In some cases, the lead levels were greater than 100 µg/L. In simulated laboratory tests, the concentration of lead in water found through galvanized steel pipes reached a maximum of 172 µg/L, which is more than 10 times the action level set by the Environmental Protection Agency.