Some homes in the Jackson area have recently shown higher than normal levels of lead in their drinking water.
The Mississippi State Department of Health follows Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements by performing routine testing of water for the presence of lead and copper. Recent sampling of water in 100 Jackson homes resulted in 11 with levels of lead high enough to be deemed actionable by the EPA. The City of Jackson is taking steps to educate customers and improve corrosion control systems in the City water plant.
MSDH Recommendations for Homeowners
Although the majority of home lead testing performed identified no lead, or lead below the action level set by the EPA, MSDH is issuing these recommendations as a special precaution, especially for households with young children or pregnant women. These precautions should remain in place at least six months while the City of Jackson makes the necessary changes required to stabilize the pH levels in its water system that contribute to corrosion .
- Before using tap water for drinking or cooking, run your tap on cold for one to two minutes. For more detail, see this information from the CDC.
- Households should never use hot water for drinking or cooking.
- Residents should clean out their faucet aerators by unscrewing the aerator at the tip of the faucet, and removing any particles or sediment that has collected in the filter screen.
- Any child five years of age or younger and any pregnant woman should use filtered water (NSF53 certified filter) or bottled water for drinking and cooking.
- Baby formula should be "ready-to-feed" or prepared using only filtered water or bottled water.
- Parents with children five years or younger should contact their child's pediatrician or primary care provider to make sure that adequate lead screening and blood testing have been performed.
Children's lead testing is available from the Hinds county health department (601-432-3070) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for children ages six months to five years who receive their water from the City of Jackson. The cost of testing is $30, covered by Medicaid, MS CAN (Magnolia and United) and CHIP.
Recommendations for Schools, Food Facilities, and Child Care Facilities
- Is the Jackson water supply safe?
There is no indication of elevated lead levels in Jackson source water.
Lead in the water of older homes usually comes from plumbing materials in the home which contain lead. The Mississippi State Department of Health has issued a compliance plan for the City of Jackson water system, which includes corrosion control measures to minimize the entry of plumbing-related lead into home drinking water.
- How dangerous is lead in drinking water?
Prolonged exposure to high levels of lead in drinking water can have serious health effects. The levels of lead found in this sampling are not high enough to indicate a health threat. They do indicate possible problems in home plumbing that should be addressed.
- Is my home at risk?
If you own an older home (built before 1986), you are more likely to have plumbing fixtures which contain some lead. Older homes are also more likely to contain lead-based paint. (The most common source of lead exposure in children is dust or paint chips from lead-based white paint used prior to 1978.) If you own an older home and are not sure of the quality of its plumbing, you can flush your water taps before drinking from them to lower the risk of lead.