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Milwaukee Health Department stresses ‘no level of lead is safe,’ including lead from paint, water, soil

MILWAUKEE — Officials with the Milwaukee Health Department on Wednesday, April 18 issued an advisory, stressing that no level of lead is safe, whether it’s from paint, water or soil. They’re encouraging those who may be at risk to take precautions, and said they’re “working diligently to make Milwaukee lead-safe.”

According to a news release from health department officials, in November of 2017, the Milwaukee Common Council passed a lead transparency resolution about the dangers of lead exposure in water and the need for broad community education.

β€œI appreciate the leadership the Common Council has demonstrated on this very important issue,” said Milwaukee Health Commissioner Patricia McManus in the release. β€œNo level of lead is safe! This includes lead from paint, water or soil.”

As detailed in the resolution, populations living in homes where lead service lines are present are at-risk if they are:

  • Women who are pregnant, who are of childbearing age (15-45 years) or who are breastfeeding
  • Children up to the age of 6

Health department officials are encouraging families who may live in homes with a high risk for lead in the drinking water to avoid lead exposure by:

  • Using drinking water filters (NSF/ANSI Standard 53) that are certified to remove lead. This is the most effective way to reduce lead exposure from drinking water.
  • Flushing drinking water by running faucets on cold for a minimum of three minutes (or longer if needed) until the water is noticeably colder.
  • Using only cold water for cooking and drinking, and considering buying bottled water for drinking and cooking from a known lead-free source.
  • Cleaning and removing, on a regular basis, aeraters from faucets and rinsing out any dirt, which may include particles of lead.
  • Replacing lead service lines or interior plumbing.

The health department provides drinking water filters for at-risk populations. Individuals can call the MHD Lead Hotline 414-286-8800 to see if they qualify.

All children in Milwaukee should be tested three times before age 3; some children may need to be tested up to age 6. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to make sure their children are tested by their medical provider. The health department provides lead testing at its clinics as well.

Milwaukee Water Works treats and delivers drinking water throughout the city that is lead-free. Lead service lines and plumbing inside the home can cause lead to get into drinking water. Residents can find out if their home has a lead service line by CLICKING HERE.