Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Effectiveness of Prevailing Flush Guidelines to Prevent Exposure to Lead in Water

Version 1 : Received: 27 May 2018 / Approved: 28 May 2018 / Online: 28 May 2018 (12:57:04 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 29 May 2018 / Approved: 29 May 2018 / Online: 29 May 2018 (09:39:42 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Katner, A.; Pieper, K.; Brown, K.; Lin, H.-Y.; Parks, J.; Wang, X.; Hu, C.-Y.; Masters, S.; Mielke, H.; Edwards, M. Effectiveness of Prevailing Flush Guidelines to Prevent Exposure to Lead in Tap Water. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1537. Katner, A.; Pieper, K.; Brown, K.; Lin, H.-Y.; Parks, J.; Wang, X.; Hu, C.-Y.; Masters, S.; Mielke, H.; Edwards, M. Effectiveness of Prevailing Flush Guidelines to Prevent Exposure to Lead in Tap Water. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1537.

Journal reference: Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1537
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph15071537

Abstract

Flushing tap water is often promoted as a simple and low cost approach to reducing water lead exposures. This study evaluated lead reduction when prevailing flush guidelines (30 seconds-2 minutes) are implemented in a city compliant with lead-associated water regulations (New Orleans, LA). Water samples (n=1,497) collected from a convenience sample of 376 residential sites (2015-2017) were analyzed for lead in samples collected: at 1) first draw (n=375), and after incremental flushes of 2) 30-45 seconds (n=375), 3) 2.5-3 minutes (n=373), and 4) 5.5-6 minutes (n=218). There was no significant reduction when compared to the first draw lead level, until the 6 minute flush (p<0.05); but most sites (52%) still had detectable lead (≥1 ppb) after 6 minutes. Older homes (pre-1950) and low occupancy sites had significantly higher WLLs (p<0.05).Each sample type had health-based standard exceedances at over 50% of sites sampled (max: 58 ppb). While flushing is an effective short-term approach to remediate high lead, prevailing flush recommendations are an inconsistently effective exposure prevention measure that can often inadvertently increase exposures. Public health messages should be modified to ensure appropriate application of flushing for specific cities, while acknowledging its short-comings and practical limitations.

Subject Areas

drinking water; lead; Pb; flush; exposure prevention; intervention; lead service line

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