Lead contamination is a common problem that has become more common in the 21st century. Water has become more contaminated in today’s modern world even as chlorine is used to disinfect it.

Water filters have come in handy to eliminate all the viruses and bacteria that are found in water including any lead that is in the water.  

You can use lead test kits that allow you to check for lead around your home.

Understanding Lead: Adverse Effects to Your Health and How to Remove It

How does lead get into your water supply?

Lead is known to enter the water supply through the corrosion of water pipes, solder and fixtures. Water that is high in acidity and has low mineral content affects the pipes and causes them to corrode.

Most homes in the USA that were built well before 1986 would be at high risk of lead contamination. These houses were fitted with the lead pipes before the safe drinking water act was changed to bring more safety to people consuming the water. Old brass or chrome plated faucets also use lead in their manufacture and should be replaced as well to eliminate any risk of lead poisoning.

How do you find out if your water contains lead?

Lead is colorless, odorless and its traces cannot be seen with naked eyes. Identifying it is very difficult but there are three proven ways that will help you do so:

  • Look out for the report from the local water system – Every water system is required to publish an annual water quality report, namely the Consumer Confidence Reports.  These are published and kept in the office of the local water system for your perusal. If you get your water from a private source, check with your local health department or test the water yourself. These reports may not show the real effect of lead that is coming to your house because they are only tested at the water source; that’s why it would be ideal to test your own tap water.  
  • Have your water tested by a certified laboratory – You should only use a certified laboratory to test your tap water. It costs between $20-$100 to get your water checked and get more conclusive reports.   

What should you do about lead contamination?  

Whatever you choose to do, do it fast because you don’t know how much lead you have already ingested.  

Use a water filter all the time – Remember to look for water filters that filter lead and are NSF-certified.

Always flush your pipes before use – The longer the water lies stagnant in your pipes, the higher the lead levels will be in it.  Run the faucet long enough for the water to get as cold as possible before using it. Note that this process does not eliminate the need for a filter.

Use cold water for drinking and cooking – Cold water has lower levels of lead. When you boil the water, the levels increase due to heat and evaporation. Before you get yourself a filter, learn to use only cold water in the kitchen to cook as well as drink.