Lead is present almost everywhere in nature and has been used in many consumer products in the past. Today, lead is found in food, air, water, old paint, soil and dust. Lead can be taken in by the body when ingested or inhaled. Amounts taken in can vary from person to person depending on the form of the lead and the person's metabolism.
There have been very few reported cases of lead poisoning in Canada. Lead exposure has been drastically reduced over the last 40 years with the elimination of lead in food cans, gasoline, paint, solder, and lead service connections.
Lead is a cumulative neurotoxin, with fetuses, infants, children up to six years of age and pregnant women (because of their fetuses) being most susceptible to adverse health effects. For more information on the health risks associated with lead, please visit the Middlesex-London Health Unit website.
The water in London’s distribution system has extremely low levels of lead low - less than half a microgram per litre. This is significantly lower than the Ontario Standard of 10 micrograms per litre.
London homes built before 1953 may have lead levels higher than the Ontario Standard because the water travels through a lead service pipe to get from City’s water main into the home. As water travels through the lead service pipe, it picks up small amounts of lead. If the water service isn’t made of lead, there is no cause for concern.
The map identifies areas in the City of London where lead services can be found. To find out if your home has a lead water service, call us at 519-661-4739.
If you have a lead water service, the best way to reduce your lead exposure is to replace the service pipe. See the next bullet point for more information.
You can also purchase water filters that attach to the faucet to remove lead from tap water. Refrigerator water filters can also remove lead. Make sure that the filter is certified to meet the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) international standard for lead reduction by looking for the "ANSI/NSF 53" stamp on the packaging. When using filtration devices, it is very important to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.
Some homeowners may be interested in replacing their lead service pipe. Water services run across both private property and public property. The City of London will replace the portion of the water service on public property at our expense, provided that the property owner first replaces the private portion of the service (as outlined in the City of London Water By-law). The homeowners contractor is required to coordinate work with the City in order to complete the lead service pipe replacement as efficiently as possible and with minimal interruption in service. Work that is not properly coordinated will result in potentially lengthy delays in the completion of the service stub replacement. For more information regarding lead service pipe replacement please consult the City's Lead Service Extension Replacement Loan Program web page.).
No. Virtually all municipalities in Europe and North America have used lead for service pipes in the past.