How To Filter Lead Out of Your Water
Not all filters are created equally
It’s crazy-making: you go to your faucet to fill up a sippy cup of water for your toddler, and you don’t think twice about the contaminants that might be in it. And why should you? The Environmental Protection Agency has regulations in place to ensure that your water doesn’t exceed any dangerous limits. And sure, you’ve heard lead in drinking water making headlines since the Flint crisis began in 2014, but there’s no way that could affect you. Right?
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Not always, anyway. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least four million households have children that are exposed to high levels of lead, and an estimated 63 million Americans have been exposed to lead in their tap water over the last decade alone.
Why does this matter? When exposed long-term, lead is a neurotoxin, dangerous to health. There is no safe level of lead for kids or adults, and our most vulnerable population – our children – need our help. Here’s how to understand where it comes from, and how you can filter lead out of your whole home.
How Lead Gets in Your Water
63 million Americans have exposure to lead – which is a very high, surprising amount. This large number includes lead-based paint, as well as lead in the water supply. While the United States government has signed a few measures to help improve water quality across the nation, it’s still hard to know exactly where the primary lead culprit lies.
What we do know is that oftentimes, it comes from below. Even if water starts out lead-free at the original source, it can be contaminated on the way to your tap.
Even if water starts out lead-free at the original source, it can be contaminated on the way to your tap.
For example, even though the use of lead-based plumbing was banned in 1986, there are still many homes with lead-based piping that has yet to be replaced. And even if your piping system is lead-free, there’s a possibility that your water can pick up lead through municipal pipelines on it’s way to your home. In fact, nearly a third of U.S. water systems reported service lines containing lead.
Most people cannot see, taste, or smell lead in the water they drink, so what can you do to filter lead out of your water?
The only way to reduce the lead in your drinking water is to use a water filter. However, not all water filters are equal, and some may not filter lead at all or will do so inadequately. If you are going to invest in a water filter, you’ll want to make sure it’s the best water filter for lead removal.
Understanding Your Contaminants
In order to find the best filter for you, you need to know exactly what’s in your water. Lead isn’t the only contaminant that could be in your drinking water. Treated drinking water can also contain heavy metals such as mercury, and environmental pollutants like pharmaceuticals, herbicides, and pesticides. Plus, the disinfectants used to clean your drinking water are often harsh chemicals like chlorine or chloramines.
You can find out what’s contaminating your water by searching online for a Water Quality Report for your area or contacting your local government. This report provides water quality statistics on regulated water contaminants and will tell you where your water comes from and contaminants that may be present in it. You can also access your water quality information using the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) national drinking water database. Once you’ve identified which contaminants are in your water, find a filter that removes the contaminants that can negatively affect your health or the taste of the water.
It’s also important to remember that the contaminants in your tap water are also likely affecting other places in your area such as public schools and businesses. Even if you use a filter to provide clean water in your home, you’ll still need a safe way to stay hydrated on the go. You can fill up a reusable bottle with filtered water at home, but what about when you run out? For on-the-go filtration, try using a reusable water bottle with a built-in filter, such as the stainless steel insulated Aquasana Clean Water Bottle which removes 99% of lead, bacteria, chlorine, and other contaminants.
Look for lead removal Certification
If you’ve decided to purchase a filtration system for your home to remove lead or other contaminants, it’s essential to look for products with independent certifications from an unbiased third-party, such as the NSF or IAPMO. A manufacturer can say, “removes up to 99.99 percent of lead”, but without the certification to back it up, you might end up paying for that placebo in more ways than one. Nonprofit groups such as NSF and IAPMO offer third-party, independent testing and certification, so you know that the filter you’re investing in has been tested and proven to real-world results.
For lead removal specifically, you’ll want to look for filters with the NSF mark and certification for NSF/ANSI 53 or NSF/ANSI 58 or a seal from IAPMO.
Filter Lead Out of water
If you’re looking for the best water filter for lead removal, it’s important to know which filtration methods are most effective at doing it. Contrary to popular belief, running cold water through your tap for a prolonged period before drinking it — a process known as “flushing” — is not a safe or effective method for preventing exposure to lead. Two effective ways of reducing lead from water are reverse osmosis and ion-exchange, so start by learning about these processes and find a filter that utilizes one of these filtration methods.
Reverse osmosis is the process by which a solvent passes through a porous membrane in the direction opposite to that for natural osmosis when subjected to pressure. Traditional reverse osmosis systems remove nearly everything larger than a water molecule from water including naturally occurring trace minerals. This process includes the removal of particles like lead, fluoride, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and asbestos.
The NSF-Certified Aquasana Reverse Osmosis System removes 99% of lead and asbestos, 95% of fluoride and mercury, and 97% of chlorine & arsenic. Our system reduces 88 contaminants such as pharmaceuticals, herbicides, and pesticides. It also features remineralization technology to restore healthy minerals such as calcium and potassium for optimal alkalinity, pH balance, and taste in your tap water. This system can be added at “point of use”, meaning at whatever sink you wish to filter the water for drinking or cooking needs.
Ion exchange is the exchange of ions of the same charge between an insoluble solid and a solution. In water filter terms, that means we use a potassium ion to bond to and remove heavy metal contaminants such as lead and mercury from your drinking water.
Our OptimH2O® Whole House water filter uses both ion-exchange and sub-micron filtration to filter water from the point it enters your home, protecting your family at the sink, in the shower, at the dishwasher, and anywhere else inside your home where you access water. The first-of-its-kind system is IAMPO-certified to reduce more than 99% of lead and cysts, 98% of PFOA/PFAS, and tackle chlorine, chloramines among other contaminants.
At Aquasana, we believe clean water and a healthy environment are the most important components to healthy living and overall well-being. Be your own best advocate and invest in a water filter up to the task of delivering clean, healthy water every time you turn on the tap.
Whether you want the best water filter for lead removal, or one to remove other contaminants — we have a wide selection of whole house, under sink, countertop, and shower filters to choose from. Transform your tap water into clean, great-tasting water today!