The call comes during Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (October 25-31), a campaign led by the World Health Organisation to raise awareness of the devastating effects of lead worldwide.
The installation of new lead pipes to supply drinking water and the use of lead solder to join pipes has been banned in the UK for more than 25 years.
However, it is still possible to buy lead solder and cases of lead poisoning are still being recorded following its use by DIY enthusiasts or unqualified plumbers who are unaware of the danger.
SESW recommends households and businesses use WaterSafe, an online search facility, to find recognised plumbing businesses whose plumbers have undergone specific training in the Water Fitting Regulations and Byelaws.
Julie Spinks, Director of WaterSafe, said: “Lead solder is about half the price of lead-free solder, so there is still a temptation for some to use it on plumbing which supplies drinking water. However, lead is known to be a harmful and can pose a health risk if too high a concentration enters the body.
“WaterSafe was set up by the water companies in the UK to help keep everyone’s water supplies safe and healthy and we would encourage anyone having work done on their household plumbing to visit our website and find a trusted and qualified plumber in their area.”
There are strict laws governing the amount of lead in drinking water and SESW regularly carries out tests on its own pipe networks and in customers’ homes.
Homes built before 1970 may have lead pipes so homeowners who believe they may have them are advised to contact SESW for advice.
For a guide on looking after water in your home visit http://www.water.org.uk/news-water-uk/looking-after-water-your-home or http://www.waterplc.com/pages/home/water-quality/looking-after-your-water/