In removing a gate value for the hose in my garage this morning I had
to heat one of the copper joints to remove it and I noticed how easily
the solder melted and flowed. So I wonder if there is some amount of
lead in it.
My house was built in 1953 and my guess is that this pipe joint is
1) Did plumbing solder in 1953 contain lead?
2) Can I test some of the solder blobs easily?
3) Should I consider replacing all of the pipes in my house? (Note: I
have a small ranch house with easy access to all of the plumbing; this
would not be a difficult job for me.)
On 14 Apr 2006 06:32:41 -0700, upand_at firstname.lastname@example.org wrote (with
Not certain if there is a simple test.
Speaking for myself, I wouldn't bother for two reasons:
1. The likelihood of significant exposure to lead is tiny.
Lead was used in solder for years and it didn't appear to have any
significant effect on life span.
2. The exposure to lead via plumbing is tiny - it can be only
at the joints and if those were done by a professional, there is damn
little lead in contact with the water.
The problem with lead is solder joints is that the EPA changed disinfectant
chemicals for city utilities a few years ago and the new chemical is more
corrosive and now people are drinking plenty of lead in their old pipes.
You can send a vial of water out for testing, or use a testing kit with a
Q-tip rubbed on the solder.
But, rather than changing all your pipes, you can just install a water
filter in your kitchen which will trap up to 99% of it Just running your
tap for 2 minutes in the morning will clear out any lead that leached
I grew up in a house with lead solder. Just think, I'd probably be a genius
right now were it not for the lead that I consumed ;)
Of course not. My last house had a lead pipe as the main water line from
the street. Tens of thousands of houses built in the 1940's had lead pipes.
We all survived. If you are paranoid about it, it is the water sitting for
a time over lead that potentially contaminates it. Flush a toilet or two
and the water sitting in the pipes overnight is gone and you have good water
My thought here is to just run enough water so that the pipe between
the faucet and the water supply entrance to the house is emptied out.
In my kitchen, I figure this to be about 2 quarts. At least the way
my house is plumbed, and I suspect others as well, I would think that
flushing the toilet would not help bring a fresh water supply to my
Now, there is one other issue: As a plumber friend of mine once
suggested, in some places the old city supply lines expose the
water supply to your house to lead, in which case my perhaps
superstitious practice of running out 2 qt. of water in the morning
wouldn't much matter :-}
Mike Lacy, Ft Collins CO 80523
On 14 Apr 2006 09:03:57 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
I wouldn't call it superstitious. There is a valid basis for it.
And your disagreement doesn't seem well based either.
Even if the city pipes contain lead, the water in them is rushing by
because of the other people using water, even when we are sleeping.
Someone is up earlier than we are, or going to bed much later than we
do, and is showering or washing something.
of running out 2 qt. of water in the morning
It's only the water to our own house and in our own house that gets no
use at all when we are asleep. That's what sits there, in some cases
picking up lead.
My house built in 1983 had lead in the plumbing, subjecting us to being
a bunch of "lab rats " for the local water district and health
Very very well-versed in the subject. Essentially, what most everyone
has told you is true.
You test the water, not the solder. You test first "flush" -- meaning
the first dribbles of water out of the pipe and then let it run (forget
how long) and collect a second sample.
Over time, if you have hard water, the deposits USUALLY seal off the
lead and very little, if any, escapes into the actual water. Soft
water, well another story. If I remember correctly, hot water taps pose
more of a problem.
Finally, another poster was close, but, sort of deadly wrong when they
said flush a couple of toilets....Basically let the water run out of
any pipe -- the protocol says up to 10 minutes -- that you are going
to consume water from. Flushing a toilet is not going to drain the
water that has been sitting in that cold water line...
Hey, how about this, take a look at what the experts say :>)
On 14 Apr 2006 07:49:37 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I figured the toilet thing was dependant on how the house is built.
Many people go to the toilet first thing in the morning and flush
anyhow. Sometimes 2, 3, 4 people get up at the same time.
My bathroom sink is fed from the same pipe and only has 6 feet that
My kitchen sink is fed from teh same pipe as the two upstairs toilets,
and only has about 3 feet that are diffferent.
So if the toilet flushing is enough to put new water in the house
pipes, I'd only have to run the kitchen sink for 3 feet worth to have
fresh water there.
1- Almost all homes with copper pipes used solder containing a 50/50 mix of
tin and lead that have been built up to the last few years.
2- why worry about the solder blobs. YOu can be sure they are the lead type
the same as the other joints in your house.
3- replace all the pipes in the house. Go with the plastic pipes . Then
someone will decide something will come out of the plastic and you will
have to replace those pipes.
If the lead in the pipes had been very bad for us, most anyone that lived in
a house built in the last 50 years would have been affected. I doubt that
anyone can prove the lead has caused any problems.
Too many people worry about too many small things. They do not seem to
worry about the 40,000 or so killed in the US by cars each year.
If you do replace the valve use some of the BAD old 50/50 mix and not the
newer no stick junk.
I largely agree with most of the previous, with one caveat- lead is a
serious matter. The EPA considers it the no. 1 environmental health
threat. Especially, of course, in the case of pregnant women/ young
children. It is cumulative, causes mental deficits in very small
amounts, organ problems in larger amounts. That said, you are probably
fine with the advice given, but go ahead and have water tested if you
like. In many older cities, there really is a problem- with lead pipe
being the connection from street to house. Not everyone knows to
filter/ or simply flush out line in AM- which can take several
minutes(in the case above, less if just flushing out lead-soldered
domestic copper pipes). Depending on your plumbing setup, you can use
the water to fill your washer, if you don't want to waste it. You'd
still have run some out the kitchen faucet, of course. Lead levels can
be much higher in hot water- I'd say don't use it for cooking or
Yes, thanks Sev.
I appreciate everyone's input on this, but the "hey, I didn't die
because of it" argument is bad. Lots of things that may not affect
your lifespan at all can seriously affect your brain, muscles, nerves,
So we should go with what we know. I am going to test my water as was
suggested (which is a good idea whether I have leaded solder or not)
and if the lead level is considered safe then I'll have no worries.
On 14-Apr-2006, upand_at email@example.com wrote:
The first couple of decades of my life I spent living in an environment that had
lead in the water pipes, mercury in the antibiotics, asbestos in almost
(I lived in Quebec where asbestos was a major export) etc, etc.
Now kids are raised in clean houses protected from diseases, toxins, heavy
metals etc. These same kids are suffering from epidemic levels of asthma,
autism, allergies etc.
Not quite. Mercury, in thiomerisol, is a preservative in vaccines (or it
used to be) and the autism rate increased considerably since it was used.
There have not been scientific test, but anecdotal evidence points to it as
one in 162 children is autistic to some extent. China had virtually no
autism until they started using US made vaccines with it.
On Sat, 15 Apr 2006 03:11:22 +0000, Edwin Pawlowski wrote:
Correlation <> causation. There are *thousands* of differences
between the Chinese and Americans. To blame mercury from vaccines
without cause is silly. There are far more plausable reasons for the rise
in autism, including self-selection of mates with autistic traits (geeks
on geeks)and our economy making this possible.
As I stated, there is not scientific proof and studies have not been done.
It may or may not be, but you don't offer a solution either. As the
thiomerisol is eliminated, it may show causation. We'll see.
On Sat, 15 Apr 2006 16:36:20 +0000, Edwin Pawlowski wrote:
So why bring it up? No proof is no proof.
I offered one alternative explanation (unfortunately, solutions are not
always possible). The "solution" is *not* to stop vaccination. The
"solution" may be the "media" getting a clue about science, but that won't
happen because scares sell ink. They've obviously scared you since you
bought the line right down to the hook.
Likely the claimed "causation" will be the rates of autism to increase
in China. ;-/
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