By Rachell Sarnoff / This article was originally posted on http://mommygreenest.com
When I was a kid, one of the things I never understood was why we had to fill the pasta pot with cold water. If I filled it with the hot water that we’d been using to wash dishes, for example, I’d have to run the tap until it was cold again before I filled up the pot to cook.
I’m not even sure if my dad knew why he did this, it’s just the way it was supposed to be done. But now I know that using cold water in cooking is important because of one thing: Lead.
Lead is a neurotoxin, which means that it affects the way your brain works, and it’s especially dangerous to kids. Unfortunately, it’s also invisible, tasteless, and odorless—so it’s virtually impossible to detect if it’s in your air or water, without testing.
In honor of September’s Child Safety Month, I thought I would take a minute to share a few things you can do to protect your family from lead:
•Take off your shoes outside to reduce 85% of dirt—including lead residue—from entering your home.
•Wet mop at least once a week, and use a HEPA filter when vacuuming. (Lead is transmitted through dust: less dust, less lead.)
•Encourage your family to wash their hands, especially when they enter the home. Lead is most often ingested through dust on hands going into mouths.
•Use cold water for eating or drinking, as hot water can dissolve lead from pipes into the water.
•Run the tap for one minute before drinking water in the morning to flush the pipes of standing water that can include lead.
•Filter your drinking water, with a carbon filter, if possible.
•Keep your children away from peeling paint, especially if the building was built before 1978, when lead-paint laws went into effect.
Living an unleaded life isn’t difficult, but it can take practice. And it may mean giving up a few things: And as much it makes for some treasured childhood memories, I no longer let my kids drink from plastic hoses, as most of them contain lead.
But nostalgia is a small price to pay for safety.