How to Get the Lead Out
Removing Lead in Drinking Water
While lead is a naturally occurring element with many useful applications, it’s also a highly toxic substance. Lead can make its way into tap water through the corrosion of pipes and other plumbing materials.*
Although homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, even newer homes with legally “lead free” piping can still contain up to 8% lead content. The corrosion of both newer and older plumbing systems caused by hot, high acidic, or mineral-light water can still cause lead to enter our tap water. For children and pregnant women especially, ingestion of lead can cause a range of health effects, which is why it’s so important to reduce lead levels in drinking water whenever possible.
What is lead poisoning?
Ingestion of water known to contain more than the maximum level of lead allowed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has adverse effects on the human body, especially for young children whose bodies and brains are still developing. According to the EPA†, children exposed to relatively low levels of lead can experience significant health problems. For adults, lead contamination can contribute to increased blood pressure, decreased kidney function and reproductive issues. Pregnant women are especially vulnerable, and can pass lead contaminants onto their unborn babies.‡
How to test for lead in your water.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)§, the only way to know whether your home tap water contains dangerous levels of lead is to perform a lead water test. Although store-bought testing kits claim to be able to accurately measure lead count, the measurement tools used by official water providers and by government agencies are much more reliable.
To find out if your region is likely to have contaminated drinking water, visit the Consumer Confidence Reports section of the EPA’s website.
How much lead is acceptable?
The EPA passed an act in 1974 called the Safe Drinking Water Act†, which effectively set a regulation level on the maximum amount of contaminants for public drinking water. Included in these required actions is the EPA’s Public Notification Rule, which calls for the public water system in question to alert the consumers when the maximum allowable lead content has been breached. Under this act, if over 10% of tap water samples exceed 15 parts per billion of lead, public water systems would be required to take actions to reduce the risk of consumer exposure to lead.
Can lead be filtered out of water?
Many household filtration systems have been developed to effectively reduce contaminants found in tap water. Both Brita® Faucet Systems and Brita® Longlast™ Filters help to reduce 99% of lead present in tap water plus other contaminants like Chlorine, Asbestos, Benzene, Ibuprofen and Bisphenol A (BPA). If your household water source contains levels of lead that are above the EPA’s maximum level, these Brita® filters can be used to provide you with safer water for drinking and cooking.
- * Source: https://www.epa.gov/lead/protect-your-family-exposures-lead#water
- † Source: https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/basic-information-about-lead-drinking-water#health
- ‡ Source: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/tips/pregnant.htm
- § Source: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-04/documents/epa816f04030.pdf