Get the lead out

August 30, 2011

Lead poisoning. Two words that strike fear in any caring parent, and two words you don't expect to hear associated with homes built in the past several decades.

Largely successful projects to eliminate lead paint chips from old homes were high profile to a generation that came up in the 1970s and even early 1980s.

Kids who become the victims of lead poisoning are at very high risk for brain damage. Few things are more frightening to a family than that.

As it turns out, paint chips aren't the problem, but the threat of lead poisoning is no doubt weighing heavily in some households in Harford County in the aftermath of lead contamination being found in some homes in the Grafton Ridge area in Forest Hill. Since then, according to the Harford County Health Department, the threat of lead in tap water has been found in an expanded area, beyond the Grafton Ridge community.

There's been some indication that a particular variety of valve used in the plumbing systems of the homes affected —  and the affected homes are all on well water, not the county's system — is to blame, but no conclusions have yet been drawn.

To date, it appears the well water itself is unaffected.

Regardless of the source, this frightening reality is one that needs to be investigated with all due vigor because the stakes are very high for the families affected.

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