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QUESTION: Could lead diving weights contaminate pool water? 07 May 2008 Queensland, Australia

We have lead diving weights used to weigh down equipment in a small pool, would there be any possible prospect of contamination of the water and in turn contaminate users of that water.‍

ANSWER: 07 May 2008

Hi Garry,

Thanks for your inquiry. I'm going to assume you are referring to a small swimming pool rather than a frog pool or similar pool that is not for human use.

Yes the lead diving weights COULD contaminate the pool water and the level of leaching of the lead is dependent on the water temperature, hardness/softness and pH which in turn is influenced by the amount and residence-time of organic matter (leaf-fall, insects etc) in the pool.

You can easily purchase (by credit card phone or email sale) one of our DIY-sampling kits and collect a pool water sample and post it to the Sydney Analytical Laboratories for lead analysis. The Water lead test Kit $100 or $85 for LEAD Group members (which includes lab cost) and comes with two sample bottles. You could use one bottle at first and if the result exceeds the guideline value for lead in recreational waters, you could replace the lead weights and use the second sample bottle to retest to determine if the pool water later complies with the guidelines.

Alternatively, you could ask the doctor to test any young child who is particularly prone to swallowing the pool water but if their blood lead level is elevated, you still won't know the source/s until you test the likely culprits (floor dust / contaminated soil / tankwater used for drinking / painted toys / pool water etc).

As a consumer you would certainly have the right to ask the supplier of the lead weights( IF they are being used for the purpose that they were sold for) to pay for lab analysis of pool water, but they might refuse.

Yours Sincerely

Elizabeth O'Brien

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[Update 2012: Vinyl coated diving weights

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