The Drinking Water Quality Regulator for Scotland has established a project to review policy for the reduction of exposure to lead in drinking water. The initiative seeks to identify enablers and strengthen or introduce mechanisms with a range of stakeholders and influencers for the removal of lead service pipes and plumbing.
Lead is toxic and it accumulates within the body over a lifetime through exposure to lead sources in the environment.
Following their review of health impacts of lead, the World Health Organisation consider there to be no safe level of lead and exposure through all mechanisms - drinking, eating, inhaling, should be as low as possible. Their guidance is that lead piping is removed from the drinking water supply route. Information on the health effects of exposure to lead can be found on the NHS Inform website.
It is clear for many consumers that lead is not an issue and there are many who believe it was a problem resolved many years ago. The good thing is that over time, a good proportion have had those pipes replaced.
For some property owners however, the issue has not gone away and irrespective of whether it persists in homes or commercial and public buildings, it is something they need to think about.
- Ensure there is a clear and shared understanding of legislation as it relates to duties on drinking water
- Engage with health officials to identify common themes and to align drinking water quality policy with health policy
- Work with stakeholders to identify areas where policies can be aligned to ensure the risk of exposure to lead in the environment is minimised
- Investigate the various policy options available and work with Scottish Government in determining the best way forward