Drinking water can be a source of lead exposure.
There is no safe level of lead. Lead can affect learning, mental health, and increase the risk of diseases later in life. People can come in contact with lead from many places, including paint, dirt, certain foods, and drinking water. Pipes, faucets, and other plumbing components in a home can contain lead.
You can take action to reduce you and your family's exposure to lead from drinking water.
Everyone should follow these steps:
- Run tap water for at least 3 minutes before drinking if it has been sitting for more than 2 hours. You can collect this water to use for other purposes like washing dishes or watering plants.
- Clean your faucet's screen once a month and when water flow is low or construction or plumbing work has been done in or near your home.
- Use the cold water tap for drinking and preparing food, including infant formula.
- Learn about your water quality. Check your water utility’s annual report, called a consumer confidence report. Test your private well for lead once every five years and before it will be used by a pregnant woman or baby.
Extra steps should be taken to protect sensitive groups if there are lead sources in the home's plumbing. Sensitive groups include bottle-fed babies, pregnant women, and children with an elevated blood lead level.
- Use a safe source of water for drinking and preparing food. You can use bottled water or water from a certified filter or treatment system.
- Remove lead sources from your home’s plumbing. Lead and galvanized steel service lines and pipes are a main source of exposure so start by replacing these. You should also work to replace brass and bronze faucets.
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