How can I protect myself from lead in water?

The State of Michigan recommends the following ways to protect yourself from lead water:

Flush your pipes before using your water.
If you have not used your water for several hours, flushing your pipes may reduce the amount of soluble (dissolved) lead in your drinking water.

To flush the pipes in your home, do any of the following for at least five minutes:
Turn a faucet on all the way.
Take a shower.
Run a load of laundry.
Run your dishwasher.

After flushing your home’s water, run the water from individual faucets on cold for 1-2 minutes before using the water for drinking or cooking.

Using a filter can reduce lead in drinking water.
Both particulate and soluble lead can be safely removed from drinking water by using a water filter certified to reduce lead in drinking water. Look for filters that are tested and certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 53 for lead reduction. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install the filter and maintain it. For help choosing a filter, use the EPA Guidance Tool .

Use cold filtered or flushed water for:
Drinking, cooking, or rinsing food.
Mixing powdered infant formula.
Brushing your teeth.

Do not use hot water for drinking or cooking.
Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap. Lead dissolves more easily into hot water.

Clean your aerator.
Aerators (the mesh screens on your sink faucet) can trap pieces of particulate lead.
Clean your drinking water faucet aerator at least every 6 months.
If there is construction or repairs to the public water system or pipes near your home, clean your drinking water faucet aerator every month until the work is done.
Replace plumbing, pipes, and faucets that may add lead into your drinking water.
Older faucets, fittings, and valves sold before 2014 may contain up to 8 percent lead, even if marked “lead-free.” Replace faucets with products manufactured in 2014 or later and are certified to contain 0.25% lead or less.
Guidance for reducing potential lead exposure from drinking water (English & Spanish)

Source: MI Lead Safe

Replace water service lines made of lead material.

A water service line is the pipe that connects a home to the water main. In St. Clair Shores homeowners are responsible for the curb stop (at most homes this is in the front yard near the sidewalk) and the service line (under the front yard) and in to the home. Many homes built prior to 1950 were constructed with lead water service lines between the curb stop box and the water meter within the home or in a meter pit. A diagram showing the configuration and ownership of the water service line can be found here. A diagram showing the configuration and ownership of the water service line can be found here
Source: Great Lakes Water Authority

Show All Answers

1. What does this “Action Level” exceedance and advisory mean?
2. How does lead get into drinking water?
3. How can I protect myself from lead in water?
4. Is there a simple way to see if I have lead service line in my home?
5. What are the health effects from lead exposure?
6. What is the City doing about this issue?
7. How do I get a drinking water filter?
8. Where can I get my water tested?
9. What educational resources are available?
10. Where can I get information to better understand drinking water filters?
11. Can you explain how to use a faucet filter that is certified to reduce lead in drinking water?
12. I've heard my drinking water faucet has an aerator. What is it?
13. Can my home be part of the community-wide sampling plan?
14. Who do I contact for more information about lead in drinking water?
15. Who can I call to report a water or sewer emergency after the DPW is closed?
16. How does a water main break affect my water?
17. What should I do if water is coming up from the floor drains in my basement?
18. Who is responsible for the water service line and sewer service line to my house?