Lansing Board of Water and Light is set to formally begin replacing lead pipes with copper pipes in thousands of homes.
The utility says 14,000 letters will be sent out to the affected homes, notifying them if their pipes will be replaced. BWL says it water is clean, but is encouraging customers to let the tap water run for at least 30 seconds and avoid cooking and drinking hot tap water.
Officials say the job will take 10 years at a cost of about $30 million. They say high on the priority list are schools, day care centers, and homes with small children.
BWL says they have already replaced pipes in about a few thousand homes in the last 10 years, and says it speeding up the process now because they feel a sense of obligation.
Contact the Lansing Board of Water and Light for more information on public hearings it will be holding during the next three weeks.
wilx.com’s Extended Web Coverage
Getting the Lead Out
- Lead was banned from house paint in 1978.
- U.S. food canners quit using lead solder in 1991.
- The 25-year phase-out of lead in gasoline reached its goal in 1995.
- Adults absorb about 11 percent of lead reaching the digestive tract
- Children may absorb 30 to 75 percent of lead reaching the digestive tract.
- When lead is inhaled, up to 50 percent is absorbed, but less than one percent of lead is absorbed when it comes in contact with the skin.
- The body stores lead mainly in bone, where it can accumulate for decades.
- Calcium deficiency especially increases lead absorption, as does iron deficiency, which can also increase lead damage to blood cells.
- A high-fat diet increases lead absorption, and so does an empty stomach.
Risks of Lead
- Lead disrupts the functioning of almost every brain neurotransmitter.
- While a child's chronic exposure to relatively low lead levels may result in learning or behavioral problems.
- Higher levels of exposure in children can be associated with anemia and changes in kidney function, as well as significant changes in the nervous system that may include seizures, coma and death.
- In adults, lead poisoning can contribute to high blood pressure and damage to the reproductive organs.
- Severe lead poisoning in adults can cause subtle loss of recently acquired skills, listlessness, bizarre behavior, incoordination, vomiting, altered consciousness, seizures, coma and death
- By the time symptoms appear, damage is often already irreversible.