A key factor in understanding lead risks for your family from drinking water is knowing whether the pipes that bring water to your home and the pipes and faucets inside your home contain lead.
If you are unsure about your plumbing, you can test your water for lead. Remember this is just a snapshot of the water at that time, and lead levels can fluctuate. Using the first and fifth liter testing methods can help determine if you have lead pipes inside and outside your home.
If you know that you have a lead service line, all water in the home should be treated as a potential risk for high lead. This means using the 4 step approach below.
Until you are able to determine the makeup of your pipes and faucets, you can still protect your family by assuming they are lead. The following will help reduce your exposure to potential lead in drinking water:
Flush water for five minutes after it has not been used for six or more hours.
Install a filter on the kitchen sink to remove lead. (NSF/ANSI Standard 53). Remember to change the filter cartridge regularly.
Only run cold water through your filter. Use cold, filtered water for drinking, cooking, and preparing baby formula.
Clean your faucet screens or aerators four times a year with an old toothbrush.
For a good overview of what testing results mean, check out this fact sheet.
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