Lead poisoning can't be cured, but the effects can be reduced; here's how

Posted at 8:08 AM, Oct 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-23 22:22:19-04

(WXYZ) — While Michigan has revised it’s lead and copper standards to make drinking water safer, experts say that no amount of lead is OK when it comes to health.

Right now, the national standard rule is set to 15 parts-per-billion when it comes to lead in the water. But with Michigan’s new Safe and Drinking Water Act, that number will drop to 12 parts-per-billion by the year 2025. And while any steps taken to protect Michiganders from unsafe drinking water are welcomed, there are still many officials who feel that any lead is dangerous. In fact, the CDC says that no safe blood lead levels have been identified for children.

And that’s because even low levels can do harm. Especially to young children’s developing brains and nervous systems. Their ability to pay attention, their IQ and ultimately their academics can be affected. They can have hearing and speech issues, and slow growth and behavior problems. Research has shown that kids exposed can also have long-term harm. Low levels can also raise blood pressure and cause cardiovascular and kidney problems. Fertility issues can happen, if a woman is pregnant, she could have a miscarriage or a stillbirth.

Now can lead poisoning be cured? Unfortunately, there is no cure and exposure cannot be fixed. But the effects can be reduced by removing the lead source, getting early intervention, and eating a diet high in iron and calcium. If lead levels are very high, x-ray or chelation therapy may help to remove some of the lead out of the blood.

So you can see why it’s important to protect yourself and family. I recommend:

1. Have your home check for lead if it was built before 1978. Lead can be in paint as well.

2. Ask your water company if you have a lead service line. And get your tap water tested.

3. If you’re concerned about lead levels in yourself or your kids, talk to your family doctor about a lead blood test.

4. You can also install or use water filters that are designed to remove lead.

Now it’s great that Michigan has the strictest standards in the nation when it comes to lead in water. But we should still be careful when it comes to the water that comes out of our tap.