Elevated lead levels found in water at high-risk Portland homes - KPTV - FOX 12

Elevated lead levels found in water at high-risk Portland homes

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Water samples (Photo: Portland Water Bureau) Water samples (Photo: Portland Water Bureau)

Elevated lead levels were found in the water at high-risk homes in Portland, according to the Portland Water Bureau.

Agencies test homes known to have lead solder in their plumbing twice a year.

Recent samples showed elevated levels in 14 of 112 homes tested in the Bull Run service area.

The lead levels were 17 parts per billion, above the action level of 15 parts per billion that triggers outreach and corrective actions.

The major source of lead in tap water in Portland is the corrosive action of water on plumbing components that contain lead, such as faucets and lead-based solder.

However, the Portland Water Bureau reports the biggest sources of exposure to lead is from lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust or soil.

"Ideally, all plumbing fixtures would be lead-free, but they aren't," says PWB Administrator Mike Stuhr. "This is why we are informing our customers of these test results, and providing them with the tools to protect themselves and their families."

Experts say there are simple ways to reduce exposure to lead in water. If water has been standing in pipes for several hours, consumers can reduce lead exposure from home plumbing by running their water until it is noticeably cold. Hot water is more corrosive than cold water, so it is more likely to contain lead -- that's why it is important to use only cold water for cooking, drinking, and particularly when making baby formula or juice.

Anyone concerned about lead exposure can test their home plumbing for free by contacting the LeadLine at www.leadline.org or 503-988-4000.

More than 19,000 children have been tested for lead in Multnomah County in the past three years and only 184 were confirmed with elevated blood lead levels, according to the Portland Water Bureau. None of the investigations identified water as the main source of exposure.

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