As seen in the Flint Water Crisis, lead poisoning through corroded pipes can lead to cancer, reduced IQ, and even death. Researchers at UC Berkeley found a way to use electricity to solve this issue. But how does it work?
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Zapping Lead Pipes with Electricity Could Make Them Safer for Drinking Water
“Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are working on a new technology that uses electrical current to rapidly build a protective layer on the insides of the pipes.”
To seal off dangerous lead pipes, just add electricity
“The current actually causes more lead ions to leach into the water, but those ions then react with the phosphates to build up the mineral barrier. Once locked in place, the mineral scaling causes lead levels leaching into the pipe to drop by 99%, the researchers report today here at the semiannual meeting of the American Chemical Society. The process can create a scale in just hours, rather than months or years..
“Once lead enters the body, it is distributed to organs such as the brain, kidneys, liver and bones. The body stores lead in the teeth and bones where it accumulates over time. Lead stored in bone may be remobilized into the blood during pregnancy, thus exposing the fetus. Undernourished children are more susceptible to lead because their bodies absorb more lead if other nutrients, such as calcium or iron, are lacking. Children at highest risk are the very young (including the developing fetus) and the impoverished.”