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Current Environmental Health Reports

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 255–262 | Cite as

Public Health Consequences of Lead in Drinking Water

  • Patrick Levallois
  • Prabjit Barn
  • Mathieu Valcke
  • Denis Gauvin
  • Tom Kosatsky
Water and Health (T Wade, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Water and Health

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Lead can enter drinking water from lead service lines and lead-containing plumbing, particularly in the presence of corrosive water. We review the current evidence on the role of drinking water as a source of lead exposure and its potential impacts on health, with an emphasis on children. Drinking water guidelines and mitigation strategies are also presented.

Recent Findings

The impact of lead on neurodevelopmental effects in children even at low levels of exposure is well established. Population and toxicokinetic modeling studies have found a clear relationship between water lead levels and blood lead levels in children at low levels of lead in drinking water. Various mitigation strategies can lower lead levels in water.

Summary

The importance of drinking water as a contributor to total lead exposure depends on water lead levels and the amount consumed, as well as the relative contribution of other sources. Efforts should be made to reduce lead exposure for all sources, including drinking water, considering that no threshold level of exposure exists for the neurodevelopmental effects of lead in children.

Keywords

Lead Water Health impacts Regulations Action levels Mitigation 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Levallois
    • 1
    • 2
  • Prabjit Barn
    • 3
    • 4
  • Mathieu Valcke
    • 1
    • 5
  • Denis Gauvin
    • 1
  • Tom Kosatsky
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Direction de la santé environnementale et de la toxicologieInstitut national de santé publique du QuébecQuébecCanada
  2. 2.Département de médecine sociale et préventive, Faculté de médecineUniversité LavalQuébecCanada
  3. 3.Environmental Health Services, BC Centre for Disease ControlVancouverCanada
  4. 4.National Collaborating Centre for Environmental HealthVancouverCanada
  5. 5.École de santé publique de MontréalUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada

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