Film highlights the dangers of lead in drinking water


WaterSafe has launched a short film to highlight the potential health risks

The film is being launched to coincide with Lead Poisoning Prevention Week 2017 (October 22 to 28) and is promoted by WaterSafe, the national register for approved plumbers.

Lead dissolving into drinking water from lead pipes can be harmful if it builds up in the body – especially for babies and children, whose development can be affected.

The use of lead in plumbing has been banned in the UK for more than 25 years, and houses built before 1970 are most likely to have lead pipes.

However, newer homes are not entirely safe. Lead solder used for jointing copper pipes as a low-cost alternative by DIY enthusiasts or unqualified plumbers can also put drinking water at risk.

The WaterSafe film supports International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week 2017, which is run by the World Health Organisation. Presented by WaterSafe member and UK Plumber of the Year 2016 Shaun Scott, the film offers clear solutions to ensure homeowners have the correct pipes and fittings.

It provides advice on:

  • how to recognise lead pipes
  • why it’s important to use lead-free solder
  • what your water company will do to help
  • precautions to reduce lead levels in the short term
  • using a WaterSafe approved plumber to safely replace lead pipes with copper or plastic ones.

Julie Spinks, director of WaterSafe, said: “The plumbing in homes is the responsibility of the homeowner, so we are urging all households to spend a few minutes today checking if they have lead pipes.

“To safeguard health we would recommend replacing lead pipes that supply drinking water to bathrooms and kitchens with copper or plastic ones.  All plumbers on the WaterSafe register are trained in the water supply regulations and are promoted by water companies to keep drinking water safe in homes.

 “If you’re replacing pipes within your boundary, make sure you contact your local water company, as they may be able to replace the pipes beyond your house and garden.”

Most water companies can also test the levels of lead in the water and offer advice on replacing the pipes.

To watch the film and for more advice on keeping drinking water safe from lead please visit the WaterSafe website:

The WaterSafe scheme is backed by all UK water companies and the drinking water regulators. It provides an online directory of plumbing businesses in the UK who are trained to meet the strict regulations for installing pipes and fittings that supply drinking water to keep it fresh and healthy.

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