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Lead concerns? How to test your home's water

Posted at 6:54 PM, Jan 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-07 20:54:27-05

It was one thing when just one city in Michigan was struggling with a water crisis.

Now, a Northern Ohio community is struggling with contaminated water as well, and people everywhere are growing concerned.

Rochelle Hensley is a mom who wants everyone to have safe food and water here in her Northern Kentucky home.

Like a lot of parents, she was disturbed by news of Flint, Michigan's lead poisoning crisis.

"The biggest concern is having young children, and hearing about lead poisoning," Hensley said.

It hit closer to home when she heard about a town outside Cleveland, Sebring, with a similar crisis.

"It just seems unbelievable. You trust your water is healthy for your kids, and it's scary to that it might not be," she said.

The EPA blames something called "aggressive water" for the most recent crisis in Sebring, pointing to corrosive water that leaches lead and copper right out of older pipes.

What You Can Do

Concerned?

You can test your water for minerals with simple kits sold at Amazon, local hardware stores, Lowes, and Home Depot.

We bought an inexpensive "H2-OK Kit" for $10, then tested Hensley's water for metals and minerals, even acidity. A better version, with full lead test, sells for $25.

While not a scientific test, the test using strips dipped in a vial of her tap water showed her metals all in the safe range.

Lead Poisoning Remains a Concern

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports a number of lead poisoning cases in the Cincinnati area last year, though many could be from lead paint and other sources.

It reports:

  • 147 cases in Hamilton County
  • 21 in Butler County
  • 3 in Warren County
  • 6 in Kenton County
  • 1 in Bone County

Doctors say lead poisoning in children can lead to nervous system disorders and learning disabilities.

Cincinnati Water Among Best in US

But Greater Cincinnati Water Works says there's no need to worry if you use municipal water in their coverage area of three counties, plus many other surrounding communities.

They claim Cincinnati has the most state-of-the-art treatment facilities in the nation.

Superintendent Jeff Swetfeder told us "Our water is clean. Our water is safe."

Back at home, Rachelle Hensley is thrilled that her water is safe.

"I'm feeling a little bit better, yeah," she said.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line: there are no reports of lead contaminated water here at this time in the Cincinnati area.

But if you have concerns, you can find water test kits for $10 to $20 at hardware stores, plumbing stores, and online.

That way you don't waste your money.

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