To reduce exposure to lead and copper in drinking water:
- Run your water before drinking. The more time water has been sitting in your home's pipes, the more lead it may contain. Therefore, if your water has not been used for several hours, run the water before using it for drinking or cooking. This flushes lead-containing water from the pipes. Additional flushing may be required for homes that have been vacant or have a longer service line.
- If you do not have a lead service line, run the water for 30 seconds to two minutes until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature.
- If you do have a lead service line, run the water for at least five minutes to flush water from both the interior building plumbing and lead service line.
- Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap, lead dissolves more easily in hot water.
- Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead levels.
- Consider using a filter to reduce lead in drinking water. Read the package to be sure the filter is NSF 53 certified to reduce lead or contact NSF International at 800-NSF-8010, or www.nsf.org for more information.
- Consider purchasing bottled water. The bottled water standard for lead is 5 ppb
- Identify if your plumbing fixtures contain lead. New faucets, fittings, and valves may contain up to 8 percent lead including those advertised or labeled as “lead-free” and may contribute lead to drinking water. Consumers should be aware of this when choosing fixtures and take appropriate precautions.
- Clean your aerator. As part of routine maintenance, the aerator should be removed at least every six months to rinse out any debris that may include particulate lead.
- Get your child tested. Contact your local health department or healthcare provider to find out how you can get your child tested for lead if you are concerned about exposure
Although the primary sources of lead exposure for most children are deteriorating lead-based paint, lead- contaminated dust, and lead-contaminated soil, the U.S. EPA estimates that 10 to 20 percent of human exposure to lead may come from drinking water. Infants who consume mostly mixed formula can receive 40 percent to 60 percent of their exposure to lead from drinking water.
For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home and the health effects of lead, visit the U.S. EPA’s Web site at www.epa.gov/lead, call the National Lead Information Center at 800‑424‑LEAD, or contact your health care provider.
For more information on copper, visit the United States Center for Disease Control website at www.atsdr.cdc.gov/index.html, or contact your health provider.