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PEHSU Factsheet on Lead and Drinking Water: Information for Health Professionals Across the United States (2016) > What can a family do to decrease lead in their drinking water?

What can a family do to decrease lead in their drinking water?

posted on Aug 1, 2019
  • Flush water pipes for up to 2 minutes before drinking or drawing water especially when preparing baby formula. The amount of time and whether to run the water will depend on whether the home has a lead service line or not and whether the water in the home has been utilized for several hours. A study conducted by Maas et al found that among water samples that had first-draw lead level > 15 μg/L, US EPA’s action level, 83% of cases could be reduced to < 15 μg/L simply by running the tap for one full minute.
  • Use only the cold water tap for drinking, cooking, and especially for making baby formula. Families can fill a pitcher with water after flushing the tap and keep it in the refrigerator for drinking, cooking, and making baby formula.
  • Regularly clean and remove any debris from faucet aerators to clear out any particles of lead that may become trapped in the aerator
  • To identify a pitcher or faucet device to remove soluble and particulate lead, families can be referred to NSF International, an independent organization that provides voluntary certifications on specific water filter products and a useful source of information on filtering drinking water to remove lead. http://info.nsf.org/Certified/DWTU/
    • Lead in drinking water is present in both soluble (dissolved) and particulate forms. Most faucetmounted filter devices effectively remove both soluble and particulate lead, but most pourthrough water pitcher devices are not effective in removing the particulate lead.
  • Purchase lead-free faucets and plumbing components.
  • Identify lead service lines. Be aware of any work that could disturb lead service lines, such as water main replacement, lead service line repair, or replacement of part of the service line.
  • Consider removal of the lead service line, although studies demonstrate that lead levels in the water may rise for months afterwards due to this disruption. Given this risk, proper precautions must be taken for full replacement of water services lines.
  • Contact your regional Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) with any further questions. www.pehsu.net