Health Concerns

TAP WATER IN ANCIENT ROME CONTAMINATED WITH LEAD

May 5, 2014

Lead in drinking water can be an issue for irrigation systems that are from ancient times, because did not know what we know now about lead poisoning.

The famous aqueducts in ancient Rome were contaminated with approximately 100 times more lead than the local spring water, according to researchers. The supply was contaminated by water passing through a giant network of lead pipes which then distributed water around the city.

Researchers in France claimed that while the drinking water had been a concern for a while, there wouldn’t be enough lead in the water to cause mental illnesses or the crime rate to go up.

The Trajanic harbor, an inland basin, was built in the early 2nd century AD as the population of Rome expanded.

The French team studied the isotopes of a core drilled from the harbor and one taken from the canal, which helped give a record of the contaminants. The tests show that there were two different kinds of water in the river. One was natural river water, and the other was cleaner drinking water that had drained into the river.

The researchers believed that the lead for the pipes was mined elsewhere. More tests showed that the levels of the lead in the tap water varied over time.

The spread of lead poisoning would have been relatively easy in ancient Rome because although officials were given control over the pipes, it was not uncommon for locals to make their own holes in the pipes so that they could gain access to the water. This would have made it easier to make lead poisoning spread.

However this proves that there was not enough lead in the water to do damage to the civilization.

Check out the original article here.

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