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HomeHealth NewsDrinking, cooking, brushing wrong per obscure Government advice

Drinking, cooking, brushing wrong per obscure Government advice

  • Avoid hot tap for cooking
  • Beware of lead contamination
  • Flush taps before use

You might be consuming tap water incorrectly.

Additionally, you might be cleansing your teeth and boiling your potatoes improperly.

Unknown government advice urges us to alter our tap water consumption to reduce the risk of encountering potentially hazardous substances.

One recommendation is to avoid using cooking water from the hot tap, even just to fill a saucepan to boil.

Never use the hot water tap for food or drink preparation.

Compared to boiling water in a kettle, using water directly from the hot tap for brewing or cooking might seem like a time-saver.

However, the DWI advises using only cold water from the kitchen tap for cooking and drinking.

This is because hot tap water is more likely to contain metal contaminants like copper and lead, which can cause severe and lasting health issues.

Although most homes have replaced lead pipes, the DWI still recommends against using water from the hot tap due to the risk of higher concentrations of other metals.

It’s not advisable to use such water for cooking purposes, like filling a saucepan to speed up potato boiling, as boiling does not remove potential metal traces.

The DWI states, “Remember, only use cold kitchen tap water for cooking and drinking.”

Consuming water from a hot tap is inadvisable due to the potential for higher metal concentrations, including copper, which gives a bitter taste.

Live in an older residence? Let the water run until it cools before using it.

Lead in household water can lead to kidney and heart issues in adults and impair infants’ cognitive development.

Since the 1970s, domestic use of this heavy metal has been banned due to health concerns.

Still, the DWI warns some British homes may retain lead, urging awareness of this risk.

Even modern homes might not be safe, as unqualified plumbers or DIY home renovators could have used lead solder, once common for joining pipes.

The DWI suggests checking for lead pipes by locating the stop tap. If scraping reveals shiny silver on a dull grey pipe with a swollen joint near the tap, lead is likely present.

If lead is found, run the tap used for cooking and drinking before use to flush out stagnant water that could be high in lead.

According to the DWI, run enough water to fill a basin or until it feels significantly colder, indicating it’s “fresh” from the mains.

However, this is a temporary fix; lead pipes or solder should be replaced promptly.

If your home has a rooftop water storage tank, avoid using upstairs taps for drinking or brushing your teeth.

Thirsty at night? Think twice before refilling from an upstairs tap.

Similarly, using the bathroom tap for toothbrushing could be risky.

According to the DWI, many older homes supply upper floors from rooftop or loft storage tanks.

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Although newer tanks are considered safe, older ones may not be, with issues like excessive size allowing water to stagnate or made from materials that corrode, contaminating the water.

Tanks must meet strict criteria, including filters to keep out vermin and placement away from heat to prevent water spoilage.

To check if an attic tap is tank-fed, turn on the tap fully and try to stop the flow with your thumb. If you can, it’s likely from a cistern, not the mains.

Experts’ views?

Imperial College London toxicology professor and government advisor Alan Boobis defies the DWI’s tap water metals warning. However, he agrees it’s sound.

He notes substances leaching from pipes are more likely in initially drawn water.

Following this advice, while not harmful, might help reduce some substance levels, though they’re likely below concern thresholds.

Professor James Coulson, a toxicology expert at Cardiff University, was unaware of the government advice but takes extra precautions, running the tap for about 30 seconds before use to flush the system and checking the water visually and by smell.

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