Lead in Water:
What You Need To Know
With water being such a strictly regulated utility in the US, many of us take for granted that our water is safe. We get our water reports annually and assume that if there is a problem we’d be notified. Unfortunately, those reports only account for the source of our water. They don’t typically look at how our water is being delivered to us and that’s where we find the breakdown. From your city’s pipes to your home’s plumbing, there can be multiple opportunities for lead to leach into your drinking water.
Lead pipes and plumbing fixtures were used for much of the early 20th century and continued through the mid-1980s. As we learned more about the impact of lead, we started to ween ourselves away from this material. But even as recently as 2014, fixtures with as much as 8% lead-by-weight were being labeled as “lead-free”. What this means is that even if your home is newer, it’s still possible to find lead in your drinking water.
Lead and Health Effects
Lead exposure, especially in young children, can have both physical and behavioral health effects. Even with low levels of exposure, lead has been linked to many long-term health problems.
Health problems caused by lead include:
- nerve damage
- behavior and learning problems
- decreased kidney function
- cardiovascular effects and hypertension
- premature birth and birth defects
- reproductive problems
- hearing problems
It’s because of this, the EPA has set a maximum lead contaminant level goal of zero under the Safe Drinking Water Act. This means that they believe any presence of lead could be harmful. One of the reasons lead is so dangerous is that it can bioaccumulate in your body, meaning that while any exposure can impose health risks, these risks will continue to increase over time as your body continues to store additional lead.
How to Protect You and Your Family?
Now that you know how detrimental lead can be, what are the best steps to protect yourself and your family?
First, test your water for lead.
This is the fastest and most reliable way to know if there is a lead issue right now. There are multiple ways to test your water, from at-home test kits to sending samples to a lab. If you’re not sure what option to go with, it’s a good idea to reach out to your local water authority for assistance.
Second, find a water filter that has been independently certified for lead removal by a trusted source (WQA, IAPMO, or NSF).
There are many filtration options available, so you’ll want to decide which is the best water filter for your needs. If you own your home, you may want to look at a whole house or under-sink water filtration system as an option. If you’re renting, a countertop water filter system may be more feasible.
Whichever filtration system type you choose, be sure that it has been NSF/ANSI certified for lead reduction by a trusted third-party testing laboratory such as WQA (the Water Quality Association), IAPMO, or NSF.
WaterChef offers a full range of advanced drinking water filtration systems designed to the highest quality standards and independently certified to remove over 99% of lead:
- U9000 Under-Sink Water Filtration System (learn more)
- C7000 Countertop Water Filter System (learn more)
- Learn about the construction of your home and neighborhood to check for any lead pipelines or fixtures.
- Flush your pipes by running the water at least 1 minute before drinking.
- Clean the aerator on your faucet to ensure there aren’t lead particles accumulating.
- Use only COLD water for drinking, cooking, etc.
- Install a water filtration system that is certified for lead reduction.