I’m pretty attached to our old tub. I much prefer a bath to a shower. I find it much more relaxing — therapeutic even. When we were shopping for a house, a big tub was on our short list of desired features. I’m 6′ 4″ and I find I’m not comfortable in many tubs. Our big old clawfoot tub fits me perfectly.
However, none of us have used the tub since Sunday, when my home test indicated there might be a high level of lead in there.
I’ve been trying to find information about the lead in our bathtub using my time-tested internet search skills. Unfortunately there’s precious little good information out there. I keep running into one story from 1995 that appeared on Good Morning America. This single story is cited by a host of bathtub reglazing businesses and some lawyers.
That runs up a red flag in my mind. If there’s something to this, there should be more information out there. In particular I’d expect to see citations of medical studies. But the only real scientific article I’ve found is a tale of woe regarding some wine that was made in a bathtub.
My main question, of course, is whether this is a threat to our safety or not. I know that Persephone was prone to drinking the bath water. But does lead really leach out into bath water?
Dr. Rodgers says the way to be sure is to “test water going into tub and water in tub after a bath.” If the post-test reveals a higher lead level than the pre-test, then the tub is leaching lead into the bath water. But I’m not sure what the best way to test for lead in water is. LeadCheck Aqua seems to detect lead in water only at the EPA limit of 15 parts per billion.
Dr. Rodgers also says, “Most kids get lead from ingesting dust soil or chips, stomach contains strong acid to digest the lead. The skin is a very impermeable membrane to bath water entering the blood stream.”
Even though I’m not convinced this is a serious risk, I am looking into the cost of having the tub re-glazed. I’ve got a query in to Southern Refinishing. Just waiting to hear back.