Minimizing your exposure to lead in drinking water
How does lead get into our drinking water?
Lead can enter drinking water when service pipes that contain lead corrode, especially where the water has high acidity or low mineral content that corrodes pipes and fixtures. The most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures with lead solder, from which significant amounts of lead can enter into the water, especially hot water.
What is a lead water service pipe or line?
A water service pipe or line is the individual pipe carrying water from the main water pipe to a specific building. Only after 1986 were these service lines and water fixtures in buildings required to be lead free. Therefore, water service pipes or lines installed prior to that date may have been made of lead.
How do I find out if my building has a lead water service line or there is lead in my drinking water?
How can I protect myself from lead in drinking water outside my home?
Check out drinking water quality information for specific locations at the Water Unleaded Drinking Water Registry. If your church, school, workplace, or favorite business or restaurant is not listed, encourage them to register!
You may still be exposed to lead in drinking water if you drink tap water outside your home - for example at restaurants, church, school, businesses, or at work.
Do I still need to worry if the water in my home is lead free?
What should I do if I have a lead water service line or my test results indicate lead in my drinking water?
Even if you don't have a lead water service line, you may still have concerns and want to get your water tested.
You can do any or all of the following:
- Remove and replace all lead water service pipes and lead piping in your building or home
- Replace all water fixtures installed prior to 1986
- Discuss treatment options with vendors and install products which reduce or eliminate lead
- Allow the water to run a while before using it for drinking or cooking
- Try to use cold water from the faucet since hot water can increase lead concentrations