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Water Quality | What is Lead in tap water?


Lead is a chemical element found underground. It exists in our surroundings – soil, air, and water. Lead is classified as a heavy metal. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), lead consumption affects human health and wellbeing in many ways.

In the USA federal regulations prohibit the use of lead in products like paint and gasoline. Lead can still propagate in mays ways - Industrial waste, previously contaminated areas can increase the concentration of lead in water run offs, air and soil.


In 2014, unhealthy levels of lead were found in the drinking water of Flint, Michigan.  Per the EPA’s ECHO [Enforcement and Compliance History Online] database more and more water systems contain harmful levels of lead throughout the US.  A lot of the water systems have lower EPA mandated lead levels but health experts’ say that even those levels are harmful. 

The source of lead in water is the aging piping infrastructure. Lead pipes were common decades ago. It is too costly to replace them.  The lead in the pipes leaches into water through corrosion, a chemical reaction that dissolves metals in pipes. More than likely, water from the treatment facility is not contaminated with lead. It is the chemical reaction to the lead in pipes of homes that have leaded pipes. Newer homes use copper pipes so they are less likely to have added lead.

There are many factors that can increase the chance of lead getting into your tap water. These factors include: 

Homes built prior to 1986 may have lead pipes, faucet, and fixtures. They have higher likelihood of lead in water

Worn out pipes 

High acidity levels in the water

Higher water temperature

Low mineral content


Per the EPA – “The Safe Drinking Water Act requires EPA to determine the level of contaminants in drinking water at which no adverse health effects are likely to occur with an adequate margin of safety. These non-enforceable health goals, based solely on possible health risks, are called maximum contaminant level goals (MCLGs). EPA has set the maximum contaminant level goal for lead in drinking water at zero because lead is a toxic metal that can be harmful to human health even at low exposure levels. Lead is persistent, and it can bio accumulate in the body over time.”

Young children, infants, and fetuses are particularly vulnerable to lead because the physical and behavioral effects of lead occur at lower exposure levels in children than in adults. Even low levels of exposure have been linked to damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing, and impaired formation and function of blood cells. We all are exposed to lead in paint, dust, soil, air, and food, as well as drinking water.


Find out if Lead is in your drinking water. The EPA requires that your local public water system test, prepare and publish an annual water quality report [CCR, Consumer confidence report]. EPA also requires public water systems to alert you if there is a problem in your tap water. If you get your water from a private well, you are responsible for maintaining your water’s cleanliness and testing it. The EPA does not regulate privately-owned wells.

Find your local Consumer Confidence Report

EPA's CCR home page

Printable color fact sheet: Is There Lead in My Drinking Water?

Copyrighted epa.gov

Have your water tested for lead

If you believe the drinking water in your home may contain lead, we suggest that you conduct a water test at home or from a certified lab. The list of labs should be available from your local water supply company. Any amount of lead in your water is cause for concern. 

Steps to take to reduce lead in your tap water:

Have your water tested

Find out if you have a lead service line

Run your water before drinking or using water for cooking

Use cold water for drinking and cooking

Maintain your water filter by changing filter cartridges.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends removing the lead source, such as a corroded pipe, to address the issue’s cause.

In situations where it is not feasible or too costly, homeowners should consider installing water filters designed to reduce or eliminate harmful contaminants like lead from the water supply.

Water filtration systems that use Reverse Osmosis effectively reduce the amount of lead in contaminated water.  These RO systems reduce or eliminate majority of contaminants like microscopic level compounds, PFAs, Micro-plastics, bacteria, viruses, chlorine, lead, and microorganisms. These are available as counter top or under the sink models. The filtered water is good for drinking and cooking.

Some owners believe that a RO based water purifier is expensive to maintain. However with proper monitoring of the system it need not be expensive. The TDSBot makes your RO System smart. It monitors water quality in real time, alert you for changes in quality, gives predictive maintenance alerts and most important it lets you know when to change filters based on water quality and volume of water filtered.





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