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Town water testing spurs education pitch about lead

Annual testing of town water turned up elevated levels of lead in two samples, but those instances were enough for the town to launch an education campaign about potential dangers.

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Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys, and can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body.

A town brochure says the greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children and pregnant women. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children.

The Select Board on Monday, Dec. 2, accepted a report presented by Michael Rademacher, public works director.

Rademacher told the board that the DPW found two testing samples above the 15 parts-per-billion (ppb) limit on lead -- at 17 and 18 ppb.

In one case, Rademacher said the DPW dug up line in street, and it turned out to be a copper pipe, not lead.

"This highlights issues that could be in your own house," not in pipes, he said, referring lead in older homes.

By end of this month, the DPW plans to send out letters to all households. Read all documents included in the presentation, including the brochure to be sent, here >> 

Information will also be sent at the time of the quarterly water bill.

Rademacher said the DPW will test a resident's water if he or she expresses concern.

Board member Dan Dunn asked whether testing has found this before in town. "Not in my tenure," said Rademacher, who became DPW head in January 2011.

Feb. 21, 2016: MWRA assures public that agency keeps the lead out

This news summary, was published Friday Dec. 6, 2019

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