Sat, Oct 24, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Lead water pipes present no risk to health, Ko says

GET THE LEAD OUT:Ko said tests had shown that lead levels in water were within safe levels, but that remaining lead pipes will be replaced within three years

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said that the city’s tap water conformed to safety standards and urged residents not to panic over health concerns raised by lead water pipes.

Ko yesterday said on Facebook that both the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the WHO set the recommended value of lead concentrations in raw water and in tap water at no more than 0.05 and 0.01 milligram per liter (mg/L), and inspection results indicated that the water quality in the two municipalities conformed to these standards.

Results released by the Taipei Water Department showed that lead concentrations in raw water were either too low to be detected or below 0.0089 mg/L, while concentrations in tap water were either undetectable or below 0.0017 mg/L.

He said that lead has the benefits of being flexible and resilient against pressure, and was therefore a common material worldwide for producing water pipes between the 1920s and the 1970s.

Lead was especially common among cities that have a long history, such as London, Amsterdam, Berlin and Antwerp, when they installed their water pipes in the early days, and some lead pipes have remained in use in these cities today, Ko said.

Citing information published by the US Environmental Protection Agency, Ko said that people can use tap water to shower or flush toilets after they have not turned on the tap for six hours or longer, to reduce lead concentrations in the water.

Also, people who are concerned about being exposed to lead-related health risks should avoid drinking from, or making food with, electric water boilers, he said.

The department has replaced lead pipes spanning 424km in the Greater Taipei area over the past decade and the remaining 157km of lead piping would be replaced with stainless steel pipes within three years, Ko said.

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