Thu, Oct 29, 2015 - Page 5 News List

Taipei offers tests for lead poisoning

POISON PIPES:Taipei households that still receive water through old lead pipes are also being offered 5m3 of free water a month until the pipes are replaced

Staff writer, with CNA

The Taipei City Government is to provide free blood tests for people who may have been exposed to lead from water pipes that were installed decades ago outside their residences, the Taipei Department of Health said yesterday.

Taipei City Hospital is to provide tests for lead poisoning for members of affected households starting on Saturday next week, and people can register to take the test by telephone or online, the department said.

Local media recently reported that about 36,000 households in seven cities and counties across Taiwan are still fed water through small-diameter lead pipes, triggering concerns that members of those households may be at risk of lead poisoning from daily consumption of the water.

Of the 36,000 households, about 30,000 are served by the Taipei Water Department, while 6,651 households are served by Taiwan Water Corp.

The Taipei Water Department serves water to all of Taipei, to the districts of Jhonghe (中和), Yonghe (永和), Sindian (新店) and Sanchong (三重) in New Taipei City, and to part of Sijhih District (汐止) in New Taipei City.

The municipal government and the Taipei Water Department yesterday announced that households who are still receiving water through lead pipes will not be charged for 5m3 of water a month, beginning with water used this month and lasting until the lead pipes serving their buildings are replaced.

Taipei Water Department Commissioner Chen Chin-hsiang (陳錦祥) said the fee exemption will translate to savings per household of between NT$25 and NT$38 per month, based on a unit price of NT$5 to NT$7.6 per cubic meter.

Chen suggested that households exposed to water from lead water pipes run their water for three minutes every morning if they have not used it for the previous six hours to ease misgivings about possible lead poisoning.

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