Lead in Drinking Water:
What You Should Know
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Lead seldom occurs naturally in rivers, lakes and other water sources. The pipes that carry water from the water treatment plant to water mains under the street supplying your home also normally do not add lead to your water. If lead is found in your water, the most likely reason is the corrosion of one of the following:
Lead Service Line – a pipe that connects your house to the water main in the street, which may be made of lead. A lead service line is the largest potential source of lead exposure in drinking water, so it is important to confirm if your home has a lead service line. To find out more about your home’s service line, call your drinking water provider or a local licensed plumber.
Lead Solder – solder commonly contains lead and is used to connect copper piping. You can hire a licensed plumber to determine if you have lead solder.
Brass Fixtures – almost all water meters, faucets, valves and fittings manufactured prior to 2014 may have brass components which contain lead.
Lead in solder, fixtures and a lead service line can dissolve into the water over time, especially when water is not being used. Contact your drinking water provider to find out what they are doing to reduce the corrosivity of your water.
In addition to the Fact Sheets and other resources in the box on this page, you can click on the drop down menu to access state-and city-specific websites to learn more about lead exposure from drinking water in your area. Please note that information is not available for all drinking water providers. However, if you receive your water from a water provider, the best way to learn more is to contact them directly, or to review your annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). A CCR is an annual water quality report delivered by water providers to their customers. The CCR includes information on source water, the levels of detected contaminants, and compliance with drinking water rules. Each state-specific page provides a link to the CCR database. Additional information can be found on EPA’s CCR website.
Resources prepared by the Horsley Witten Group and commissioned by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Guide to Choosing a Certified Lead Filtration Device (NSF International)