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While in many cases, the low levels of lead may not be a problem, high levels could cause a member of your household to experience lead poisoning. While the government has passed certain regulations, such as the Safe Drinking Water Act, some older homes and buildings can be more susceptible to the problem.

Since protecting your family is your number one priority, it is important to know what steps you can take to keep them safe. Read below to find out more about dealing with lead in the tap water.

Limiting your exposure

If you find out that your water has more than 15 ppb (parts per billion), which is the level at which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends you take action, you should take immediate steps to limit your exposure. This means that you must find the source of the contamination. If the lead is coming from the faucets, fixtures or pipes in your home, then you may need to flush the system before you begin using any water until you can get a permanent fix. Let the water run cold for one to two minutes before consuming it or cooking with it. You can even fill several containers at once so that you have water on hand for later use.

If it turns out that the source of the contamination is from one of the pipes in the street, you have to flush your system for a longer period of time. Let the water run on cold for at least five minutes before you use any tap water for drinking, cooking or bathing.

Regardless of the source of the contamination, it is vital that you use only cold water when you flush the system. The reason for this is that warm or hot water from the tap typically contains much higher concentrations of lead. In addition, boiling the water will not reduce the amount of lead that is already present.

Extra precautions for children and expectant mothers

If you are expecting or have young children in the home, the presence of high levels of lead in the water can cause significant problems. Instead of using tap water, switch to bottled water or, if possible, install a certified water filtration system to avoid lead poisoning in your family.

Lead safe practices

If you have any repairs done to older pipes in your home, be sure to contact your provider about testing the water afterward. In addition, be sure that the plumber performing the repairs does not use lead solder in the process. Periodically, inspect the aerator at the end of your household faucets and remove any particles that are present. Also, flush the lines in your home before using the tap water for cooking or consumption.

Bathing

In general, bathing and showering with tap water that has high levels of lead is safe for all the members of your household. This is because your skin will not absorb the lead.

While the above information can help you if you have lead present in your tap water, or suspect that you do, it is important to remember that each individual's circumstances are different. In order to protect yourself and your loved ones, you may need to take additional actions, especially if the water in your tap is highly corrosive.

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