A tap sold at Aldi in 2016 has still not been deemed safe for use. Picture: AFP/ Alex Wong
A tap sold at Aldi in 2016 has still not been deemed safe for use. Picture: AFP/ Alex Wong

Lead-ridden Aldi tap spurs memory problem fears

EXCLUSIVE: A MOTHER who consumed water from a suspect Aldi tap every day for a year complained of memory problems before lead poisoning concerns that remain unresolved became public.

The woman's husband recently contacted News Corp Australia frustrated that 14 months after authorities raised the alarm there is still no definitive proof the Easy Home mixer is safe.

The family, which requested anonymity, bought the tap in June 2016 and used water from it for drinking and cooking until the Queensland Building and Construction Commission issued an alert in July last year following testing by Queensland Health.

There is still no definitive proof Aldi’s Easy Home Mixer tap is safe. Picture: Supplied
There is still no definitive proof Aldi’s Easy Home Mixer tap is safe. Picture: Supplied

The test found water from the $79.99 tap from China - bought by 12,000 households - contained up to 15 times the maximum allowable level of lead.

"When that warning came out we stopped using it," the 36-year-old woman's husband told News Corp Australia, "but my wife had begun complaining of memory worries before that."

However, she did not consult a doctor. Her husband and their young children did not feel symptoms. They are not seeking compensation.

Lead contamination expert Mark Taylor cautioned against "over-interpreting" the woman's claims.

"I'm not saying the lady is making it up, but be circumspect," Professor Taylor, of Macquarie University, said.

"What we do know is lead causes neurological issues. That's a well-established problem."

The family, from northern Perth, held off removing the tap until last week, waiting for definitive evidence water run through it was safe.

That hasn't emerged, with the retailing giant and QBCC unable to agree on how to do further, final testing.

The Aldi Easy Home tap found to contaminate water with 15 times the allowable level of lead. Picture: Supplied
The Aldi Easy Home tap found to contaminate water with 15 times the allowable level of lead. Picture: Supplied

The QBCC still says households with one of the taps should not use water from it.

"Numerous tests of Aldi's Easy Home spiral spring kitchen mixer tap have uncovered inconsistent results and due to this uncertainty the QBCC's position about the safety of these taps remains unchanged," a QBCC spokesman said.

The product safety watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, has chosen to prefer Aldi's tests over the QBCC's.

"Aldi provided the ACCC with reports from accredited testing that did not identify noncompliance or health risks," an ACCC spokeswoman said.

She said the QBCC was "leading the safety investigation into this building product" and "if additional reports are received as a result of further testing, the ACCC will consider if they provide new evidence of possible harm to consumers".

An Aldi spokesman said "all the evidence we have provides us with confidence to reassure our customers that the tap is safe for use", including three tests against the Australian Standard.

"At this point it must be assumed that Queensland Health and the QBCC are not holding information that might suggest our tap is causing a health risk," the spokesman said.

"If Queensland Health or the QBCC have evidence to suggest an Aldi product is causing harm we expect that his matter would have been dealt with in a more timely manner."

john.rolfe@news.com.au

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