Why is this important?
Lead can be found in some plumbing and water supply lines, especially in buildings built before the late 1980s. When water sits in contact with leaded components for several hours, lead can dissolve in the water. Although there may be only tiny quantities of lead in drinking water, it is important to take precautions. Even low levels of lead can affect the developing brain.
What actions can we take?
- Follow local public health regulations and guidelines on testing for lead and on frequency of flushing water lines to reduce lead levels in drinking water.
- Check with your municipality to find out if you should be concerned about lead in your water service lines.
- Have your water tested for lead. Call the Ministry of Environment, your local water supplier, utility or public health unit for more information.
- Before drinking or cooking with water that has been sitting in pipes for six hours or longer, flush pipes by turning on the tap and letting the water run until it becomes cold (about one minute). Note: In the interest of conserving water, and if lead test results consistently show low levels, you may want to ask your public health inspector whether daily flushing is still required or recommended.
- If you use a water filter, check that it can remove lead. Be sure to replace filters regularly as recommended by the manufacturer. If you use a filtration system, check that it is certified to meet the US National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) standard 53 for reducing lead.
- For drinking and/or to prepare food or drinks, use water from the cold water tap. Water from hot-water taps can contain higher levels of lead.