How often are the water data results updated?

We update all the data quarterly. The EPA updates monitoring, enforcement, and violation data every quarter, usually 15 days after the start of each new quarter. Most states and municipalities provide data to the EPA once a year, at various times of the year. Ambient water data information of non-drinking water is provided by USGS/EPA at irregular intervals, we aggregate this via our current quarterly updates.

How many EPA water sampling data points are on the map?

We are continuously updating and adding new data points and locations on the map. To date we have over half a million data points, with additional incoming data being added frequently.

Why does map show non-drinking water (stream, ground water, etc.)?

We provide ‘ambient’ water data of rivers, streams, groundwater, and wells because they often reflect the surrounding water quality for those people who do not rely on public water systems (such as well-water users). The non-drinking water also indicates indirect routes of toxic exposure such as agriculture, fishing, swimming, and other water recreation.

When my test report comes out, how will others see my test result in the Toxin Alert Map?

We pin your approximate location onto the Toxin Alert Map. Detailed results will be shown by clicking the pin on the map. Your street number will be hidden to protect your privacy. (Please search ‘Flint, MI’ in Toxin Alert Map to view examples).

Some pins may be pinned in the wrong location.

We use the Google geocode service to get the longitude and latitude of each EPA’s water sampled address. In many cases, the address data is incomplete or is the administration office address for the facility. If you know the facility and its location, please click ‘Suggest an Edit’ in the location detail to provide the precise address. Your contribution will be greatly appreciated and will help many citizens near you.

If I place an order for the Drinking Water Heavy Metal Test Kit, when will I receive the kit?

You will receive the kit within 5 to 7 business days delivered by US Postal Service. Toxin Alert will send you the shipment details via email once your kit has been shipped.

Is it easy to take my water sample and ship back?

Yes. Sampling instructions are included in the package as well as pre-paid postage and packaging for return. The directions to take your water sample are easy to follow and once completed you simply attach the pre-paid postage onto the box provided and put it back in your post box or drop it at your nearest post office.

Can I test more than heavy metals in my drinking water?

Yes. The more comprehensive drinking water test requires us to expedite delivery of your sample to the laboratories. Samples must be shipped the same day as they are collected. If you are interested in the more comprehensive drinking water test, please click here to visit our partner’s website to find out more about the test kit and how to proceed. All kits are processed at cost and not for profit.

When will I receive the test result?

Upon receipt of your water sample at our laboratories, it takes between 7 and 9 business days to test and provide you with your report.

What should I do if my report shows results that exceed the EPA’s Maximum Contaminant Level?

You should contact your local water department to ascertain if the resulting high levels of contamination are coming from elevated levels in the water system as a whole, corrosion from existing pipes, or if your water department knows if your street or home has lead service lines or not. You should not personally try to investigate or discover the source of the elevated toxin levels, but rather consider taking another follow up test in your home or neighborhood. Local water departments will often perform a test for your home or neighborhood if you have concerns about your water supply.

How does lead in my tap water cause health issues?

Lead, heavy metals, and other toxins in tap water can cause a variety of health issues if contaminated water is consumed and enters a person’s bloodstream elevating his or her blood lead levels, especially among children.
Higher blood lead levels are linked with harmful effects linearly without threshold, meaning any incremental higher lead content is bad for children.
Furthermore, higher lead levels in drinking water considerably increase blood lead levels, with even the smallest amounts of lead in water having significant effects on blood lead levels.

Why are children more susceptible to dangers of lead poisoning?

Young children can absorb 4 to 5 times as much lead as adults, and the longer biological half-life in children means lead stays in children’s bodies longer than in adults.
Lead can be transfered from mother to an unborn fetus via the placenta-umbilical cord as early as the 12 week gestation period.
Some studies suggest that young children may lack a fully matured blood-brain barrier that would normally help protect an adult from the neurotoxic effects of lead.
Finally, the harmful effects from lead in children are mostly irreversible through the many available medical treatments.

What is the safe level of lead in drinking water?

Although the EPA sets 15 parts per billion (PPB), or 15 ug/L (0.015 mg/L) as an action level, scientists generally regard 10 PPB in drinking as already highly toxic. The FDA further sets 5 PPB as the maximum allowable lead level in bottled water. However, many scientist regard that there is not any zero-risk safe level of lead in drinking water—any amount of lead accumulates in the body and has an incremental negative effect.

How does lead get into my tap water?

Lead can still be found in some metal water taps, interior water pipes, or pipes connecting a house to the main water pipe in the street. Lead found in tap water usually comes from the corrosion of older fixtures or from the solder that connects pipes. When water sits in leaded pipes for several hours, lead can leach into the water supply. The lack of corrosion control chemicals in Flint contributed to lead leaching out of the pipe.

How can I tell if my tap water is contaminated with lead?

The only way to know whether your tap water contains lead is to have it tested. You cannot see, taste, or smell lead in drinking water.
Toxin Alert provides non-profit discounted testing for lead and other heavy metals [EF1] (provided subsidized or at cost), fulfilled by National Testing Laboratories, a lab certified for water testing in all 50 states.

What can I do to reduce or eliminate lead in my tap water?

If your tap water contains lead at levels exceeding EPA’s action level of 15 ppb, you should take action to minimize your exposure to the lead in the water.
If you discover you have lead in your water, you should begin by asking your water authority if your home’s service pipe at the street (header pipe) has lead in it. If the pipe in the street (header pipe) DOES NOT contain lead, the lead in your tap water may be coming from fixtures and pipes elsewhere inside your home. If the pipe at street level (header pipe) DOES contain lead, lead in the tap water may be coming from that pipe or connected pipes (but it may still also be coming from sources inside your home).
Until the source of the lead is eliminated, you should take the following steps any time you wish to use tap water for drinking or cooking, especially when the water has been off and sitting in the pipes for more than 6 hours. Before using any tap water for drinking or cooking, run high-volume taps (such as your shower) on COLD for 5 minutes orlonger if your home has a lead header pipe from the street (or 2 minutes if your home does not have lead header pipe); Then, run the kitchen tap on COLD for a further 1–2 minutes. In all situations, drink or cook only with water that comes out of the tap cold. Water that comes out of the tap warm or hot can contain much higher levels of lead. Boiling this water will NOT reduce the amount of lead in your water. You can also reduce or eliminate your exposure to lead in drinking water by consuming only bottled water or using a wate filtration system that has been certified by an independent testing organization to reduce or eliminate lead.
Children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to the effects of lead exposure. Therefore, for homes with children or pregnant women and with water lead levels exceeding EPA’s action level of 15 ppb, CDC recommends using bottled water or water from a filtration system that has been certified by an independent testing organization to reduce or eliminate lead for cooking, drinking, and baby formula preparation.

Where can I learn more about lead in drinking water?

Who is behind Toxin Alert?

Toxin Alert is a non-profit initiative within the Future Health Foundation. Founded and led by Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, Toxin Alert is a collaborative team of public health scientists, engineers, software programmers - all of whom are passionate about environmental safety as well as being parents of young children.

Who funded the creation of Toxin Alert?

Toxin Alert was created without any external funding prior to launch. It was self-funded by the families involved, who provided finance as well as time, and much welcomed volunteer efforts of many concerned parents and individual who wanted to become involved. The laboratory IT platform and associated systems for managing the fulfillment and delivery of test results was generously provided by Happy Vitals at no cost to the organization.

Does Toxin Alert make any profit from lab tests?

No. All laboratory tests offered by Toxin Alert and its partner Happy Vitals are provided at cost. The contracted laboratories responsible for conducting the water tests are commercial businesses and do make a small profit at this time.