No elevated lead levels after Sandy water malfunction

Mar 19, 2019, 4:20 PM
Fluoride in the water lead Sandy...
Salt Lake County Health Department Employee Ron Lund takes water samples to be analyzed from homes in the effected area in Sandy on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019. (Photo: Silas Walker / Deseret News)
(Photo: Silas Walker / Deseret News)

SANDY — Sandy residents who were concerned about possible lead contamination due to a water plant malfunction can breathe easy: their blood tests showed no elevated levels.

The Salt Lake County Health Department says of the more than 700 residents of the affected area who had blood testing done, only one person tested above the 5.0 μg/dL — the level at which the Centers for Disease Control recommends taking action. The health department says it’s fewer than they would have expected for that population size, based on their expectations for elevated blood lead levels throughout the county.

Additionally, the person who tested above the CDC action level was just barely over that mark at 5.1 μg/dL. The health department says that person was described as being over the age of 65 and also had some other possible exposures to lead beyond the water.

Health officials did not expect anyone to suffer long-term health impacts from the malfunction that lead to excess fluoride, lead and copper in the water.

Intermountain Healthcare offered no-cost screening to Sandy residents in the affected zones. In all, the health department says 704 people had their blood tested.

Lead can come from many sources, not just corroded pipes. The Salt Lake County Health Department recommends blood lead testing for all pregnant women and children under the age of six, regardless of whether they live inside the affected zones in Sandy.

According to the health department, old paint in homes built before 1978 remains the number one source of lead poisoning among children. Other sources include toys made in other countries with lax safety controls, some jewelry and even the environment.

The CDC has more information about preventing lead exposure here.


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No elevated lead levels after Sandy water malfunction