It is odd that in the 21st century we are still contaminating water, air, and hunted food animals with bullets made out of lead. (See “Gun range under fire over lead exposure”, Seattle Times, 2-14-2013.) There are good alternatives. Shooters should follow the Army’s lead and switch to lead-free “green bullets”.
In 1977 we mostly banned lead paint (which is sweet to a toddler’s taste), and most of it has been painted over and sealed in. So we hope that it is not as great a problem as it was in the 1970s. I say we mostly banned lead in paint because it is still used in some states in road paint, and lead free paint can still be up to 9 ppb lead.
There is a forgotten side to the lead story. From the 1920s into the 1970s our air was poisoned by tetraethyl added to gasoline. In the 1970s TEL was phased out. It turned out that all along ethanol had been just as good as TEL in preventing knocking. Promoters of TEL had known this and lied to sell their product.
When leaded gasoline was banned, a loophole was carved out for aviation gas, commonly known as Avgas. Many propeller driven planes still burn avgas, and they spew lead down on us as they fly overhead. Most piston driven planes can be made to run just as well on other gasoline mixtures, and those which cannot should get new engines.
The most ignored and possibly the most significant source of lead is our tap water. Simplot, the company which supplies the particular type of dental additives which Seattle injects into our water, admits that it contains lead, and NSF, the quasi-agency which regulates water additives admits it contains up to 1.1 ppb lead, which using Avagadro’s math equals around6.4 trillion atoms of lead per quart of water.
It gets worse, much worse, because the dental additives are effective lead solvents, and there is a lot of lead in Seattle plumbing. There is lead in old service lines (street to house), in brass-lead pipes, in galvanized pipe (which absorbs lead from lead service lines), in the solder used on copper and brass pipe, and in virtually all water faucets (Washington considers8% lead to be “lead free”).
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported in 2004 that lead had been foundin Seattle schools at up to 1,600 ppb. This is an astonishing level. The EPA action level is 15 ppb, and the EPA goal is zero. 1,600 ppb equals 1.6 ppm, which is twice the current .8 ppm level of the dental additives themselves.
The chemistry is basic. Dental additives leach lead. Once in the body, lead is hard to excrete. “Lead as metal ion irreversibly binds sulfhydryl groups on proteins, including both structural and enzymatic proteins”, says Dr. Sauerheber. When Tacoma stopped adding dental additives in 1992, lead levels dropped dramatically. Lead damages the brains of fetuses and babies most of all because their cells are still dividing.
It is politically incorrect to oppose injecting dental additives to drinking water. Politicians avoid the issue out of fear of the well-funded, well-organized, but scientifically uninformed pro-additives dental lobby.
Nevertheless, it is an indisputable fact that the dental additives used right now in Seattle contain not only lead but also arsenic, mercury, cadmium, barium, and thallium (which is slightly radioactive).
If we are really serious about lowering blood lead levels, we need to focus on all sources of lead. Lead bullets, lead plumbing, lead paint, lead avgas, and lead dissolving drinking water dental additives should all be outlawed. There are better ways to shoot guns, fly airplanes, and plumb a house. And there are better ways to protect teeth, such as diet and dental cleaning education, basic dental and cleaning services, supplementing vitamin D, and not eating sugar.
See documentation for all assertions made atwww.leadoutofourwater.wordpress.com.
Sincerely,James Robert Deal, Attorney WSBA Number 8103
Lead in Seattle-Everett-Tacoma Water
In 2004 it was discovered that old Seattle schools had up to 1600 ppb lead in first draw water from water fountains.
Click here to read more about lead in Seattle school drinking water.
Seattle has busily been replacing old pipes in the schools at great expense, and the lead readings are down.
1) Lead readings after cleanup still exceed 20 ppb. This is not acceptable.2) Readings would be lower if the water was not fluoridated.3) The School District has only partially solved, at enormous expense, the problem in old schools.4) The School District and the city are ignoring the lead problem in old apartment buildings, old houses, old factories, old office buildings.
The AWWA Journal posts this article:
Lead Release from New End-use Plumbing Components in Seattle Public Schools Authors: Boyd, Glen R.; Pierson, Gregory L.; Kirmeyer, Gregory J.; Britton, Michael D.; English, Ronald J. Citation: Journal AWWA, Vol. 100 Iss. 3, March 2008, Page Range 105-114, 10 Pages.
I quote from the article:
Seattle (Wash.) Public Schools (SPS), a school district of 47,000 students in 102 schools and administrative buildings, purchases water from Seattle Public Utilities. More than 60% of the school buildings are plumbed primarily with galvanized steel piping. Many buildings are more than 40 years old and moderately tuberculated. In late 2003, the district faced numerous inquiries associated with water quality in its school buildings, with much of the concern focused on exposure of school children to lead (Pb) from drinking water fountains.In 2004, a comprehensive water quality monitoring program was conducted in SPS. …USEPA recommends that fountains be taken out of service when sampling results indicate that the lead level exceeds 20 ug/L. [That is 20 parts per billion, an unacceptable level on an ongoing basis. There is no mention of turning off the fluoride.] …Results of the SPS sampling indicated that 600 firstdraw samples out of 3,167 (19.0%) exceeded the USEPA guideline of 20 rg/L Pb in schools. The mean lead concentration of the first-draw samples was 21 rg/L, with a maximum observed lead concentration of 1,600 rg/L. …The new policy included a criterion that the lead concentration at every drinking water source in all school buildings be [less than] 10 ug/L [ten parts per billion], i.e., one-half of the USEPA guideline of 20 ug/L Pb for schools. [Ten ppb is still too much lead for children to be drinking.] …Several possible sources of lead were identified in the school piping systems, including old galvanized-steel pipe, lead/tin solder, and brass components such as bubbler heads, valves, elbows, ferrules, and flexible connectors. …Mitigation included one or more of the following options: totally or partially replacing building piping; replacing bubbler heads with low-lead « 0.3 % Pb) brass bubblers; installing new end-use plastic-lined flexible connectors, valves, and fittings; disabling the fountain if other accessible fountains were nearby; installing granular-media point-of-use (POU) filters for lead removal from incoming water (Boyd et aI, 2005); and/or providing bottled water. After implementation of the water quality monitoring program, followup sampling results indicated that some of the remediated sources exhibited lead concentrations that exceeded the school board’s criterion of 10 rg/L Pb.
Changing lead service lines to plastic service lines is a half-baked solution if the water is treated with fluosilicic acid. The 8% LEADED BRASS FAUCETS will still release lead into the water being delivered at the bubbler.
Why is it so hard to convince every one that ingesting fluorosilic acid is the real problem with fluoridated water?
(1) The CDC and EPA have lied about this problem for 65 years.
(2) The most vocal anti-fluoridationists have aided and abetted by intoning the mantra “Fluoride is fluoride, is fluoride.”
Gerry C from Toronto says:
Peter Van Caulart may have more in depth info but from what we learned here in Toronto, estimate is that fluoridation is responsible for 75% of the lead measured in the tap water. Source water from lake Ontario is neutral to 7.2 pH with around 100 to 120 [ppm] total dissolved solids, good calcium balance, has zero ppb lead. Finished water leaving the treatment plant after sand filter, flocculation with alum, treatment to lower sulfur and phosphates, carbon filter, then chloramine and ammonia, acids or hydroxides for buffering, then fluoridation and further buffering if needed, has non-detectable lead or below 1 ppb.Our provincially enforced drinking water regulations permit up to 10 ppb lead at the tap AFTER 5 minutes of cold water flushing. God only knows what the lead content would be BEFORE flushing huh. Ten percent of tests exceed the 10 ppb regulation overall and in the urban older neighbourhoods where lead supply pipes dominate the lead is higher on average at the tap, and the percentage of tests that fail the regulatory limit is closer to 40%. [It is estimated that] 70,000 urban households affected. [There is] no data on lead in water in schools, and the province was petitioned to remove the onerous requirement for testing the water at schools built after 1968 when lead pipes were no longer allowed, but caretaking duties ordered by Toronto District School Board now include flushing all drinking fountains for a full ten minutes each morning mon-fri Sept-July at all schools regardless of when they were built. As we know, the brass fittings will leach plenty of lead regardless.My guess regarding Seattle is that due to the lack of calcium in the source water the fluoridation with HFSA (and I think you should specify this to differentiate it from NaF effect which leaches less lead) is responsible for 90% or more of the lead measured at the tap. Chloramine and chlorine disinfection alone leach a tiny amount. Water would likely meet regs for lead almost every test if fluoridation was ended. In every city where fluoridation with HFSA was interrupted for any length of time the measured lead content at the tap has fallen drastically. Didn’t they end fluoridation permanently in one major city [she is referring to Tacoma] as a result of finding this out but the other city put the fluoridation back on because hey, lead poisoning of kids is justified by reduced tooth decay.The EPA has simply abdicated its responsibility for protecting citizens from lead in tap water. It’s like there is this unwritten exception clause that everyone in government obeys but never mentions. Lead over 10 (or is it 15) ppb is illegal “except when caused by fluoridation”. Gee maybe they should put lead back in gasoline because lead protects us against radiation.
Any acid, depending on concentration, can react with lead to ionize and dissolve it, but at normal or alkaline pH the effect is gone. HF though is thought to be different since it is so tiny it can burrow into metals and glass to dissolve it even though HF is a weak acid. [When silicofluorides dissolve they produce HF. When sodium fluoride dissolves, it does not produce HF.] It is a weak acid because it is not able to ionize like strong acids do. Stong acids like sulfuric in car batteries dissolve lead, but this acid would not exist in water that is alkaline before it arrives at the lead pipe. Appreciable HF exists even at somewhat alkaline pH because it is a ‘weak acid’ that does not ionize easily, and presumably because it is tiny it uniquely can penetrate metal, glass, leather, concrete, etc.
Golda S said:
In Wikipedia under Lead and Copper Rule:
are some really interesting points. For example:
“Partially because of lead pipes, some states regulated the corrosivity of water put into the distribution system.”
Under the sub title Unusual features of the rule is the following statement:
“Especially for the larger systems, having the water supplier change the tendency of the water to dissolve lead in the customer plumbing may be more cost effective than having thousands of customers replace plumbing.”
Then on the EPA website at:
Regulations to reduce human exposure to lead are:
The Lead and Copper Rule of 1991 – This rule requires lead and copper levels to be minimized in drinking water, primarily by reducing water corrosivity. It establishes an action level of 0.015 milligrams per liter (mg/L) for lead and 1.3 mg/L for copper in 90 percent of the first-draw water samples taken at specifically identified sites and after six hours of stagnation. (Refer to the Lead and Copper Rule targeting and sampling requirements.) The action level is the lowest level to which water utilities can reasonably be required to control lead if it occurs in drinking water at their customers’ home taps. (Note: An action level exceedance is not a violation but can trigger other requirements such as monitoring and treatment.)
To me that means eliminating fluoride from the water in order to reduce the corrosion of lead into the water from home and school pipes.
More about Lead
It has long been known that in fluoridated cities there is more lead to be found in children’s bodies.
We are trying to get hunters to quit using lead. It would make sense that we should try to get all lead out of drinking water.
Washington has a get out the lead program, but it does not give any consideration to lead in fluoridation materials or the power of fluorosilicates to capture lead that might otherwise be excrete it and cause the body to retain it.
The CDC claims that silocofluorides have no effect on lead in water main but admit possible problems in old homes and schools because of leaded brass in fittings and spiggots. Virtually all brass fittings still contains some lead.
Chloramines, Lead, and Fluorosilicates Together are Touble
NeuroToxicology article by Masters and Rockefeller: Fluorosilicates cause higher levels of lead uptake in children.
It has long been known that in fluoridated cities there is more lead to be found in children’s bodies.
COMMENTS TO HHS AND EPA ON FLUORIDATION
HHS and EPA asked for comment regarding their joint proposal to reduce the amount of fluoride recommended for addition to drinking water from a range of 1.2 to .7 ppm down to a flat .7 ppm. In response Fluoride Class Action submitted this discussion of the problem that fluoride, particularly silicofluoride, causes when it is added to public drinking water:
Also see the leaded gasoline directory and links.
By Bill Kovarik
SUMMARY: Leaded gasoline should be counted among the great environmental disasters of the 20th century, given the numbers of people killed or slowly poisoned by the dull grey metal. Significantly. alternatives were well known from the beginning and preferred by the same researchers who created leaded gasoline. They originally saw it as nothing more than a bridge to other, safer fuels. Leaded gasoline was phased out in the US from 1975 – 1986 and in Europe in the 1990s. It is still being used in the developing world.
|When you fill your car up at the gas pump, you may notice that you are using “unleaded” gasoline.Lead is not something that comes with gasoline that has to be taken out — it was deliberately added by the oil industry to boost “octane” or anti-knock ratings for fuel. It had to be phased out by government order, for public health reasons, starting in 1975, and concluding in 1986. It was also banned in various European nations in the 1990s. It is still having serious public health impacts in developing nations, and a complete global phase-out has long been advocated by the World Health Organization and all other international health organizations.
Most recently, the “Declaration of Dakar” of June 28, 2001, part of the World Bank’s Clean Air Initiative, called for help in phasing out leaded gasoline in 25 sub-Saharan nations.
|Chart showing drop in blood lead levels in close correlation to drop in lead content of gasoline. (EPA).|
Leaded gasoline is typically a suspension of 3 to 4 cc tetra-ethyl lead per gallon of gasoline. Although diluted at over 1,000 to 1, the lead is readily absorbed into the skin on contact with gasoline or into the lungs from automotive exhaust.
Leaded gasoline was discovered on Dec. 9, 1921, at the General Motors research labs in Dayton Ohio. GM researchers had been testing fuel blends since 1916, trying to stop engine “knock.” Knock was a problem that was preventing the development of higher efficiency, higher compression engines. The problem was early, non-uniform detonation of fuels in the engine cylinder.
GM researchers tried many different additives and found quite a few that worked well. Ethyl alcohol from cellulosic materials was for many years their strong preference. “Of course” Thomas A. Midgley of GM wrote in a memo to his boss, GM research vice president Charles Kettering, alcohol was “the fuel of the future.” The great thing about alcohol was that it could be made from plants, and thus it would be available indefinitely after the oil ran out — and that made Detroit happy. But the problem was that the oil industry would not sell pure alcohol as a fuel. So Detroit needed something to bridge the gap,
That something was the “pill” approach — a few drops or grams of a substance that could be added to gasoline to stop the knock and allow Detroit to make high compression engines, which would be more efficient and more powerful and — not incidentally — easier to switch to alternative fuels if or when the time came for Detroit to leave the oil industry behind.
After a frantic search for results to justify further research, the company gave Midgley a litle extra time in 1921. He started working systematically through the periodic table of elements although he continued promoting alcohol fuel blends to meetings of the Society of Automotive Engineers. Tetraethyl tin had some effect, but a solution of tetraethyl lead stopped engine knock fairly well in a research engine on December 9, 1921. The solution was difficult to produce, explosive and quite poisonous, as GM researchers found in the winter of 1922. Even as late as the summer of 1922, Midgley and his assitant T.A. Boyd were championing alcohol fuel from vegetable sources.
GM started marketing its “Ethyl” fluid in 1923. In 1924 it joined with Standard Oil (Exxon) to form a partnership called the Ethyl Corp. Since DuPont was a one-third owner of GM at the time, the three major corporations all had a hand in the development and marketing of leaded gasoline. Other companies quickly joined in, including Andrew Mellon’s Gulf Oil Co.with an exclusive contract for Southeastern U.S. distribution of leaded gasoline. Mellon was Secretary of Treasury during this time and in charge of the Public Health Service, which was investigating leaded gasoline.
The public controversy started when about five workers at a grossly unsafe Standard Oil refinery went violently insane in 1924. Many others were also hospitalized. Public health experts, including Alice Hamilton of Harvard and Yendell Henderson of Yale, vehemently opposed the use of lead in gasoline as a menace to public health. Henderson called it “the single most important question in the field of public health that has ever faced the American public.”
In 1925 the Public Health Service convened a conference on leaded gasoline. The structure of the conference was slanted towards industry, which may have had something to do with the influence of Andrew Mellon. At the conference, Hamilton called GM vp Charles Kettering “nothing but a murderer” for distributing leaded gasoline. Lead poisoning, as Hamilton knew, had been a familiar and dreaded “occupational disease” throughout centuries of European history.
Hamilton also insisted that there were other ways to get an anti-knock (higher octane) fuel.
Kettering and others, speaking for GM and Standard Oil (which together jad created the Ethyl Corp. early in 1924) claimed that they did not know of alternatives “in the parrafin series” that gave anti-knock results. Frank Howard of Standard went much further, saying that civilization rested on engines and fuels, and that (in his immortal words) leaded gasoline had come “like a gift from heaven.”
But even a quick glance at Chemical Abstracts would have shown the Public Health Service and the news media that GM had gone to the trouble of patenting many alternatives just in case leaded gasoline didn’t work out. Clearly, the public watchdogs were fast asleep.
We now know from confidential GM documents that Kettering and others were very worried about competition from alternatives to leaded gasoline. They exchanged anxious memos about the competing anti-knock techniques. These included catalytic cracking, use of benzene and use of higher parrafin- derived alcohols (eg, tertiary butyl alcohol) being used by Sun, Arco and other oil companies at the time. Ethyl alcohol from farm products was also a serious competitive threat in Europe until the late 1930s.
These worries were one reason why production schedules were pushed to the limit and unsafe plant conditions were allowed to exist. The haste to beat the competition contributed to the 17 deaths from tetraethyl lead in the 1920s.
|As an historian looking to the implications of these events, several items cause particular concern:
First, that it was so easy for industry to distort and nearly bury the history of this environmental disaster under layers of tertiary materials like company reports and public relations memos. Only a chance release of 80 linear feet of raw, unclassified GM files in 1992 provided any primary historical documents to researchers. There are still many thousands of documents held in private that have not been made public, contrary to the assertions by the DuPont and the Ethyl Corp. *
Secondly, if the government found it so difficult to remove one of history’s best known poisons from an item of everyday commerce, how much harder will it be to re-examine and retool technology for the more difficult environmental challenges of the 21st century?
|World Bank charts of lead poisoning, early 1990s, various cities around the world. Measureable effects are well documented at 10 mg/dl. All but the US are at least twice that level, with Bangkok at four times the level.|