Health officials find high levels of lead in Oakland County


PONTIAC, Mich. (WLNS) – State and local officials are providing free filters to those who qualify in the City of Oak Park, after routine testing found higher than allowed levels of lead.

Oakland County Health Division was notified by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy that municipal water samples from the City of Oak Park have lead levels in the drinking water exceeding new, stricter state standards.

“The quality of our drinking water is vital to the health of Oakland County residents,” County Executive David Coulter said.

Water testing occurred as part of routine compliance sampling required by EGLE under Michigan’s Safe Drinking Water Act.

The Health Division is providing free water filter kits to qualifying households from the affected area.

“According to Centers for Disease Control, lead is most damaging to children age six and younger and pregnant woman,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County.

Water filter kits will be available at the City of Oak Park City Hall at 14000 Oak Park Blvd on Thursday, October 24 from 4:00-7:00 p.m.

“This is a public health issue and requires the commitment of everyone to take bold steps,” said Oakland County Board Chairman David T. Woodward, D – Royal Oak.

Lead enters drinking water primarily as a result of materials containing lead wearing away in the water distribution system and plumbing.

The Oakland County Health Division provided some tips to reduce the risk of lead in drinking water:

-Having water tested if you suspect that your home’s plumbing or faucets could contain lead or lead-based solder.

-Replacing faucets with those made on or after 2014, or marked “NSF 61/9” since they meet stricter limits.

-Flushing your cold-water pipes by running the water for about five minutes. You can fill containers for later use, after the flushing process.

-Use cold filtered water or bottled water for drinking, cooking, and especially for making baby formula. Hot water is likely to contain higher levels of lead.

-You may choose to install a water filter that is certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 53 for lead reduction. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also recommends the filter be certified for NSF/ANSI Standard 42 for particulate reduction (Class 1). If a water filter is installed, replace cartridges at least as often as recommended by the manufacturer.

-Aerators are small attachments at the tops of faucets and can collect small amounts of lead in their screens. Remember to remove and clean aerators monthly.

-Remember that boiling water will not remove lead.

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