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How Has Lead Contamination in Water Affected Pittsburgh Residents?

 Posted on May 05, 2023 in Toxic Exposure

Pittsburgh Lead Exposure Injury LawyersOver the past decade, multiple communities throughout the United States have encountered concerns about lead in drinking water. Flint, Michigan is one of the most prominent examples of this issue, and the crisis faced by residents of that community has led many other cities to examine whether their residents may be affected by toxic substances in the water supply. Pittsburgh is one such city, and in 2016, tests showed that the levels of lead in drinking water were above the limits set by state and federal authorities. Residents of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County may need to determine how they may have been affected by exposure to toxic substances and what options they have for addressing the harm they have suffered.

Ongoing Efforts to Address Lead in the Pittsburgh Water Supply

The limit for lead in drinking water that has been set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is 15 parts per billion. In 2016, tests showed that the water supply in Pittsburgh was 22 parts per billion, and since then, city and county officials have made efforts to reduce these numbers, including replacing lead water lines with copper pipes. More than half of the city's lead pipes have been replaced, and they are all expected to be replaced by 2026. To address ongoing issues related to lead contamination, the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority (PWSA) has added treatments to the water supply that will coat the interior of lead pipes and help prevent water contamination.

These efforts have made a difference, reducing the levels of lead in the drinking water in Allegheny County to 10 parts per billion in 2019 and five parts per billion in 2022. However, the EPA has noted that there is no safe level of lead in drinking water, and ideally, it should be completely eliminated from the water supply. A two-year analysis of Allegheny County drinking water that was performed by the non-profit group Women for a Healthy Environment in 2021 found that lead had been detected in 80 percent of the water systems in the county.

Effects of Lead in Drinking Water

Exposure to lead in drinking water can have serious health consequences, particularly for children and pregnant women. Lead is a toxic metal that can cause damage to the brain, nervous system, and kidneys. It has been associated with learning disabilities, behavioral problems, hearing loss, anemia, high blood pressure, damage to the immune system and reproductive system, and a variety of other physical ailments. In addition to this direct impact on health, exposure to lead in drinking water may also increase the risk of cancer due to its carcinogenic properties.

When people are exposed to low levels of lead over time, the substance can accumulate in the body's organs and tissues, leading to ongoing health issues. Therefore, anyone who has been exposed to lead in drinking water may need to determine how they have been affected and the types of medical treatments that may be necessary to protect their health and well-being.

Contact Our Pittsburgh Lead Exposure Injury Lawyers

Because the effects of lead exposure can be harmful and long-lasting, Pittsburgh residents may need to determine how they can receive the proper medical care that will minimize the long-term impact on the health of their families. At Colianni & Leonard LLC, we provide representation for people who have suffered harm due to exposure to toxic substances. We can help you determine who was responsible for medical issues related to lead contamination in water, and we will advocate on your behalf to make sure you can receive compensation that will address your medical expenses and other damages. To set up a free consultation and learn more about how we can assist with these issues, contact our Allegheny County toxic substance exposure attorneys at 412-680-7877.


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