POISON ALERT ON LEAD PIPES; Water Fears as 2,000 Homes Wait for Pipes to Be Replaced

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Byline: JANE WOODHEAD

HUNDREDS of familes in Liverpool are being exposed to the danger of lead poisoning in their council homes.

Lead water pipes dating back more than 30 years have still not been replaced in up to 2,000 homes across the city, it was claimed today.

A Liverpool MP is now demanding the council steps up its programme of replacing the pipes with safer materials.

Public health experts have been warning for years that lead pipes can impair development in children and unborn babies.

Liverpool council said today that some of its homes still have lead pipes and said work replacing pipes in 500 homes had been done in the last year.

But it admitted it does not have the cash available to do more straight away.

Labour chiefs said today that they believe a further 2,000 homes could be affected and are demanding council officials come clean about the real scale of the problem.

Lead piping could be in any council homes built before 1970.

The news comes just months after the ECHO revealed that all council houses in the city were to be checked for asbestos following worries that around half could be affected.

Liverpool Riverside MP Louise Ellman said today: ``Lead piping should be a thing of the past and these pipes should have been replaced.''

She added: ``As a result of the age of much of the housing stock in Liverpool,I believe there could be a large number of homes with lead piping.

``The people of Liverpool deserve the highest standards of housing and should not be forced to put up with lead pipes.

``If I do not get action from the council and United Utilities I will be raising this issue in the House of Commons.''

John Ashton, regional director of public health in the North West, said the issue needs to be dealt with immediately.

Prof Ashton said: ``In this day and age we should not have lead pipes.

``Lead can have an affect on intelligence,particularly in growing children, and it needs to be dealt with. …