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Lead and Home Plumbing
Lead is one of the contaminants that CFPUA monitors and treats for in drinking water. While CFPUA manages lead in our community's public drinking water system, lead typically enters drinking water through older plumbing inside your home.
How does lead get into water?
Water is distributed from the water treatment facility lead-free. Lead enters drinking water as a result of corrosion as water comes into contact with older plumbing materials over time.
Lead was historically used to construct water service lines and home plumbing across the country. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead service lines or interior plumbing and fixtures, and lead service lines are most common in homes built before the 1950s.
If standing water is in contact with lead materials for several hours, the water may accumulate higher lead levels.
Learn more about the sources of lead in drinking water
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH CONCERNS ASSOCIATED WITH LEAD?
Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources. Potential health impacts include damage to the brain and kidneys and interference with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body.
The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children. During pregnancy, the child can receive lead from the mother’s bones, which may affect brain development. Infants and children who drink water containing lead in excess of the action level could experience delays in their physical or mental development. Children could also show slight deficits in attention span and learning abilities.
Health risks in adults for lead exposure over many years include kidney problems or high blood pressure. Adults with existing kidney problems and high blood pressure can also be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults. Lead builds up in the bones and it can be released into the body later in life.
HOW CAN I REDUCE MY EXPOSURE TO LEAD IN DRINKING WATER?
- Run your home's water to flush out lead. If water hasn’t been used for several hours, run water for 15 to 30 seconds or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature before using if for drinking or cooking.
- Regularly clean faucet aerators to remove particulate matter.
- Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula.
- DO NOT boil water to remove lead.
- Test your home's water and plumbing fixtures for lead.