Lead in tap water

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States Affected
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People Affected
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Toxicity Rating
Health Effects

Cardiovascular effects, increased blood pressure, kidney and reproductive problems, learning disabilities and nervous system damage in children

The legal limit is
Health Guideline
0 ppb
what is considered unhealthy
Legal Limit
15 ppb
What is lead?
Lead is a toxic heavy metal used in batteries and construction materials. Historically, lead was also used in paint, plumbing materials (pipes, faucets, and fixtures), solder used to fuse plumbing pipes together, and gasoline. These former uses have been widely banned due to the highly poisonous nature of lead, however, lead pipes remain in use across all 50 of the United States.
Why is lead in my tap water?
Lead can enter drinking water when the pipes that carry water to your home or your home’s own piping or fixtures corrode. While this can happen when pipes are old (as is the case in much of the United States), it can become worse when the water traveling through the pipes has high acidity or low mineral content, as this promotes corrosion. In 2014, Flint, Michigan, brought lead contamination into the public eye. In a money-saving measure, Flint’s water source was changed to one that was much more corrosive. The new water was not treated with anti-corrosive measures, and as a result, lead contaminated the drinking water of Flint’s residents at astoundingly high and harmful levels. Be warned, however, that this situation is not limited to the cities you read about in occasional news headlines. The American Water Works Association has estimated that 15 to 22 million Americans drink water from water systems with lead-based service lines.1 The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that anywhere from 6-10 million homes are still serviced by pipes containing lead.2
Why is lead in my tap water harmful?
Lead is harmful to human health even at low exposure levels. Lead is also tricky because it accumulates in the body over time. Infants, children, and fetuses are at increased risk because they experience behavioral and physical side effects at much lower exposure levels than adults. These include learning disabilities, damage to the nervous system, and slowed growth. Lead exposure in adults can lead to cardiovascular effects, increased blood pressure and hypertension, reduced kidney function, and reproductive problems.
How much lead is safe?
Scientists agree there is no safe amount of lead in tap water. However, even though the public health goal for lead is zero, the EPA’s legal limit is 15 parts per billion (ppb). This means lead can still be in tap water and considered acceptable according to the standards.3,4 At the peak of the contamination crisis in Flint, lead was found at concentrations up to 13,200 ppb (almost 900 times higher than the legal limit).5
How do I remove lead from my tap water?
Clearly Filtered® with Affinity® Filtration Technology gives you the power to remove up to 99.9% of lead from your tap water, giving you peace of mind that comes from knowing your drinking water is finally clean and safe. Basic water filters that rely on simple carbon or charcoal are only effective at removing unpleasant odors and taste. These filters are not capable of stopping lead and other heavy metals and instead allow them to pass right through the filter into the water you're drinking. More sophisticated technology like Clearly Filtered is required to provide this type of contaminant removal.
How does Clearly Filtered do at Removing Lead in tap water?
Clearly Filtered with
Affinity Filtration Technology Product
Water Pitcher Filter
Under-the-Sink FIlter
Water Bottle Filter
Refrigerator Filter
Lead in tap water Removal
About Clearly Filtered

At Clearly Filtered, we are on a mission to provide people with the tools to take control of their water and live healthier lives. Learn more about us, including what makes us so unique.

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1. Cornwell DA, Brown RA, Via SH. National survey of lead service line occurrence. Journal AWWA. 2016;108(4):2-84. https://doi.org/10.5942/jawwa.2016.108.0086

2. Fedinick, K. P., Olson, E. D., Kristi Pullen Fedinick - Alum, Kristi Pullen Fedinick Mae Wu Erik D. Olson, Erik D. Olson Kristi Pullen Fedinick, Greenfield, N., & Denchak, M. (2021, May 13). Millions served by water systems detecting lead. NRDC. Retrieved August 29, 2022, from https://www.nrdc.org/resources/millions-served-water-systems-detecting-lead#:~:text=Our%20new%20analysis%20found%20that,health%2Dbased%20violations%20for%20lead 

3. United States Environmental Protection Agency. Lead and Copper Rule Revisions White Paper. Washington, D.C., October 2016. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-10/documents/508_lcr_revisions_white_paper_final_10.26.16.pdf. Accessed September 2, 2019.

4. United States Environmental Protection Agency. Basic Information About Lead and Drinking Water. https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/basic-information-about-lead-drinking-water#getinto. Accessed September 2, 2019.

5. US EPA. National primary Drinking Water Regulations. https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/national-primary-drinking-water-regulations. Accessed September 2, 2019.

6. Del Toral, MA. Memorandum: High lead levels in Flint, Michigan – Interim Report. Chicago, IL: US Environmental Protection Agency; 2015.