Get The Lead Out Of Our Drinking Water

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Lead Gasoline, Lead Paint, Lead Pipes, Lead Water



PO Box 2276, Lynnwood, Washington  98036-2276
Telephone 425-771-1110, Fax 425-776-8081

February 20, 2013


Lead is very useful in industry, but it is very harmful to living things.

From the 1920s into the 1970s our air was poisoned by tetraethyl added to gasoline. Soils everywhere were contaminated, and when soil dries out, the lead is still in the dust.

Tetraethyl lead was promoted as the only solution for knocking, “but that was just a lie”. Ethanol at 15% in gasoline was just as good. After a half century of this scam, tetraethyl lead was outlawed for use in cars and trucks. But a loophole was carved out for aviation gas, commonly known as avgas. Many propeller driven planes still burn avgas, and they spew lead down on us as they fly overhead. Most piston driven planes can be made to run just as well on other gasoline mixtures, and those which cannot should get new engines.

Bullets are usually made of lead. We shoot animals with lead bullets and shot and then eat them! See Oregonian article on Condors, 5-2-11, and Seattle Times article on shooting ranges, 2-14-13.) There are alternatives that are priced right and shoot right. Shooters should follow the Army’s lead and switch to lead-free “green bullets”.

The most ignored source of lead is tap water. Companies which supply the particular type of dental additives which Portland plans to inject into its water, admits that it contains lead, and so too does NSF, the quasi-agency which regulates water additives. Even worse, the dental additives are excellent at dissolving lead, and there is a lot of lead in Portland plumbing.

There is lead in old service lines (street to house), in brass-lead pipes, in galvanized pipe (which absorbs lead from lead service lines), in the solder used on copper pipe, and in virtually all water faucets. Brass which is 8% lead is considered “lead free” under US and Oregon law.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported in 2004 that lead had been found in Seattle schools at up to 1,600 ppb, an astonishing level. The EPA action level is 15 ppb, and the EPA goal is zero. 1,600 ppb equals 1.6 ppm, which is twice the proposed .8 ppm level of the dental additives themselves.

Seattle injects dental additives into its water, and dental additives leach lead. Once in the body, lead is hard to excrete. “Lead as metal ion irreversibly binds sulfhydryl groups on proteins, including both structural and enzymatic proteins”. When Tacoma turned off the dental additives in 1992, lead levels dropped dramatically. Lead damages the brains of fetuses and babies most of all because their cells are still dividing.

Nevertheless, it is an indisputable fact that the dental additives to be added to Portland water contain not only lead but also significant amounts of arsenic, and lesser amounts of mercury, cadmium, barium, and thallium (which is slightly radioactive).

If we are really serious about lowering blood lead levels, we need to stop the use of avgas, quit shooting with lead bullets, and not inject dental additives into our drinking water. There are better ways to fly airplanes, better ways to shoot bullets, and better ways to protect teeth – such as basic dental services, education about proper cleaning, supplementation with vitamin D, topical antibiotics which kill decay causing bacteria, and not eating sugar and sweetening with xylitol instead.

See documentation for all assertions made at


James Robert Deal, Attorney
WSBA Number 8103

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