How to Test Your Water for Lead
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Water Test Kit
Iliana Tovar, Community Health Worker, Multnomah County Health Department: Hi, my name is Iliana Tovar. I work for Multnomah County Health Department with the Lead Poisoning and Prevention Program.
So, what is lead? Lead is a naturally occurring element. It’s found on earth and in the past it has been put in things such as gasoline, paint and water pipes.
Lead poisoning occurs when there is a build up of lead in the body. Children and adults both can be poisoned by lead by swallowing or breathing in dust that contains lead. Lead poisoning causes things such as brain damage, liver and kidney damage, slowed growth, as well as speech delays and hearing delays.
We are here today to talk about how you can test your water at home for lead using the free lead-in-water test kits for families and individuals who would like to know if their household plumbing fixtures contain lead.
Once you have ordered your lead-in-water test kit by calling Multnomah County's Leadline or visiting our website and requesting one online, you will receive in the mail a directional brochure with step-by-step directions on how to properly collect your sample. You will also receive 2 water bottles for samples, a clear bubble lined bag, an information card and a prepaid postage envelope.
Once you have collected all of your supplies from your water test kit, you will want to think about which sink to collect your sample from. You should use a sink that you utilize the most for cooking and drinking water from, for example, your kitchen sink.
The next step is to wait 6 to 18 hours before running any water in your home. This means no running any water inside or outside. The purpose of waiting 6 to 18 hours is allow any water that is sitting in the pipes to absorb lead that may or may not be in your pipes.
Once you have waited 6 to 18 hours to run any water in your home, the next step is to get the larger water bottle from the kit and slowly fill it up with cold water up to the neck of the bottle. Once filled up, you will shake it a couple of times and using the same water, you will fill up the smaller water bottle which will then be sent to your water provider.
Once you have filled up the smaller water bottle sample, you will place it in the clear bubble lined bag. You will seal the bag tightly. Fill out your water sample information card, and you will place both of these items in the prepaid postage envelope and make sure to mail it within 7 days of collecting your water sample.
For additional information on Multnomah County's lead poisoning prevention program or to learn more about the lead in water test kits, call the Leadline at 503-988-4000 or visit us on the web.
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Special Thank You to Our Partners
Burlington Water District
City of Sherwood
City of Tigard
Palatine Hill Water District
Portland Water Bureau
Raleigh Water District
Rockwood Water District
Valley View Water DistrictMultnomah County Health Department