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Lead in Drinking Water-FAQ

1. Is there a safe level of lead in drinking water?
Most studies show that exposure to lead-contaminated water alone would not likely elevate blood lead levels in most adults, even exposure to water with a lead content close to the EPA action level for lead of 15 parts per billion (ppb).
However, there is no known safe level of lead in a child's blood. Lead is harmful to health, especially for children.
Actions should be initiated when the blood lead level in children, or pregnant and nursing women is more than 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL).
2. How do I know if my tap water is contaminated with lead?
Since you cannot see, taste, or smell lead in drinking water, testing is the only sure way of telling whether there are harmful quantities of lead in your drinking water.
You can send your water sample to a laboratory for analysis or use a home testing kit.
3. What can I do to reduce or eliminate lead in my tap water?
  • Flush your pipes before drinking: 
  • Any time the water has been off and sitting in the pipes for more than 6 hours, flush your faucet by running the water on COLD for 1–2 minutes. You can use this water for cleaning, watering plants, or flushing toilets.
  • Only use cold water for consumption:
  • Use only water from the cold-water tap for drinking, cooking, and especially for making baby formula. Hot water is likely to contain higher levels of lead.
    Boiling water will NOT get rid of lead contamination.
  • Consider alternative sources or treatment of water:
  • If you discover that you have high levels of lead in your water, you should consider using bottled water or a water filter.
    Many home water filters are certified for effective lead reduction. Verify the claims of manufacturers by checking with independent certifying organizations such as NSF International and Water Quality Association.
    Be sure to maintain and replace a filter device in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions to protect water quality.
4. If my water has high lead levels, is it safe to take a bath or shower?
Yes. Bathing and showering should be safe for you and your children, even if the water contains lead over EPA’s action level. Human skin does not absorb lead in water.
Source: EPA and CDC.