Is the water safe to drink? A popular question amid the lead-tainted water incident

Water is the source of life. Recently, the “lead-tainted water” incident has aroused much public awareness locally. Do you know if the water source in your home is safe and whether its lead content is within the safety limit for drink water?

15 July 2015

Lead is a poisonous metal that could cause detrimental health problems including anemia, high blood pressure and infertility when taken in excessively. It could also lead to mental impairment and loss of developmental skills in children.  

Below are some health tips given by the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health to avoid the intake of lead:

Run the tap water for a while before drinking or cooking if your home has an old water plumbing system and it has not been used for a while, for example, overnight.

It will be preferable for infants and young children who are under six years of age, pregnant women and lactating mothers to use alternative sources of drinking water such as bottled distilled water as an additional precautionary measure. 

Avoid exposure to sources of lead.

The domestic water filter generally used in the household setting is unlikely to be effective in screening out lead. 

Seek advice from medical doctor if you suspect having been exposed to high levels of lead or for prolonged periods, or you have relevant symptoms.

If you want to be 100% sure of the lead content level in your water, chemical testing is the only solution. We have the following suggestions regarding the sampling method in case you are going to test the lead level of your water sources through an accredited laboratory in Hong Kong:


1. Clean and empty distilled water bottles or treated bottles (can be obtained from our office at 6/F, Garment Centre, 576 Castle Peak Road, Kowloon) should be used for water sample collection. 
2. Water outlets should be inactive for at least 6-8 hours before collecting sample. (Overnight is best.)
3. Take a "first draw" 250 ml sample at each outlet to be tested using different bottles and label the samples with the outlet location clearly for report purpose.

 

Intertek is now offering lead in water test service at HKD250 per sample for Hong Kong residents. Please contact us for details.