5 Tips to Help Reduce Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week 2019

Despite strict federal regulations, U.S. citizens continue to face danger from the presence of lead in drinking water. According to the American Water Works Association, nearly a third of U.S. water systems reported service lines containing lead. 

Most consumers cannot see, taste, or smell lead in the water they drink—but they can prevent the negative effects of lead poisoning by getting the facts and taking action.

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week aims to raise awareness about the sources of lead exposure and empower people to protect their health. Where do we come in? Aquasana is participating in this movement by helping people understand what’s in their water and offering real-world solutions to reduce lead exposure. 

1. Knowledge is power

The first step to protecting yourself from a contaminant in your water is understanding how it got there. While there are many communities across the U.S. dealing with lead in their water source, lead most commonly finds its way into water through pipes that transport water into your home. This means contamination often occurs somewhere between leaving the municipal treatment plant and entering your home.

2. Find out what’s in your water

The first step to finding out what’s in your water is to review your local water report. Each year you should receive a water quality report typically called a Consumer Confidence Report or Water Quality Report before July 1st (this is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 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

3. Understand how to remove lead from your water

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. According to the team of scientists responsible for uncovering the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, “these hazards can be partly reduced by flushing, but can be eliminated by the installation of lead filters or removal of lead plumbing.” Two of the most effective filtration methods for reducing lead from water are Reverse Osmosis and Ion Exchange

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.

In short, reverse osmosis is the process by which a solvent or micron is forced through a porous membrane. This process removes particles like lead, fluoride, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and asbestos. 

Ion exchange works more like a magnet, where ions are literally exchanged with those of the same charge. In water filter terms, this means using a potassium ion to bond to and grab heavy metal contaminants, such as lead, from drinking water.

4. Protect yourself at home and beyond

A common misconception about lead contamination in water is that it is only an issue at home. However, public schools, daycares, churches and water fountains across the nation have leadweek_blog_bodytested positive for lead-contaminated drinking water — with some at exceedingly high levels. The most effective way to avoid possible contaminants outside of the home is to B.Y.O.B.—bring your own bottle! This is as simple as bringing a reusable bottle filled with filtered water from home wherever you go. Another option is to filter-on-the-go with a self-filtering water bottle. For example,  Aquasana offers a stainless steel filter bottle that is certified (more on that below!) to remove more than 99% of lead, bacteria, chlorine, cryptosporidium, and giardia from any tap water.

5. Not all filters are created equal

If you’ve decided to purchase a filtration system for your home, whether it’s a whole house system, drinking water system, or a standalone pitcher, it’s essential to look for products with independent certifications. A manufacturer can say, “removes up to 99.99 percent of fluoride”, but without the certification to back it up, you might end up paying for that placebo in more ways than one. We recommend looking for a certification seal from NSF International or the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO)—both are third-party, nonprofit water filter testing organizations that set standards for consumers. For lead 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. 

Reduce Your Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water

Clear up the misconceptions about lead in drinking water and use these tips to reduce your exposure to the harmful substance. 

Aquasana offers a variety of filtration systems to help you prevent lead from contaminating your drinking water. Call our water experts at 866-662-6885 to find a solution that fits your unique needs, and make sure to replace your filter regularly for continuously clean water.

Don’t want to keep track of replacement schedules? Our Water For Life program makes it easy to replace filters on time and without worry. Get replacements auto-delivered when they need to be replaced, and receive 15% off the price of replacements in addition to free shipping.

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