How can I protect myself from lead in 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)