Who Are we?

Follow The Lead was established to empower the public to determine if lead is an issue in their neighborhood and to show them how they may be able to help alleviate the problem at home.

What is lead?

Lead is a neurotoxin (a poisonous substance that is destructive to ones neurological system) that affects both children and adults. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no safe level of lead that should be in our drinking water. While Chicagoans may be aware of the possibility of lead contamination in their water, they do not know how to determine if it affects them directly. Follow The Lead is here to help.

Follow The Lead offers a course of action for homeowners to take in order to better protect themselves and their families. We track our progress in order to share the truth about lead contamination in local pipes. Determine if you are affected by lead contamination and make a change for the better. Get checked. Take Control. Follow the Lead.




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About Lead Contamination in your water source


According to the Water Research Center, lead is harmful to one's health depending on the amount of lead that gets into your system where it is stored in your body. According to Mr Brian Oram, PG, "The primary source for lead in most drinking water sources is the piping used within a distribution system or the household pluming. Other routes of lead exposure include: lead paint used in homes prior to 1978, dust or soil containing lead, food grown in contaminated soil or stored in poorly glazed pottery, and more."

Lead is a toxic metal that is harmful to human health. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there is NO safe level of lead exposure. The degree of exposure depends on the concentration of lead, route of exposure (air, water, food), current medical condition and age. It has been estimated that up to 20 % of the total lead exposure in children can be attributed to a waterborne route (i.e. consuming contaminated water). Infants, fetuses and young children are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning due to an excess storage of lead during the development of their bodies and minds.


"Drinking water is only one of the possible routes of exposure to lead contamination, but it is one of the easiest routes of contamination to reduce," according to the Water Research Center. The primary route of lead in water comes from the plumbing of housing. In older homes, lead pipes were used for plumbing and is the cause the lead contamination. Water pipes in homes built prior to 1930s were primarily made from lead. However, this does not mean that a newer home is safe from lead contamination; in fact, "the available data suggests that buildings less than 5 years old can have high levels of lead" (Water Research Center).