Here is some practical advice from consumer reporter Liz Crenshaw on how to make sure your drinking water is safe at your home:
- At-risk homes should be especially cautious of lead in drinking water. These households include members with young children or pregnant women.
- Boiling your water will NOT reduce lead if you have lead in the water supply. However, some filters will. These include some carafe filters, faucet-mounted filters, under-the-sink filters and whole system filters. Read the fine print on your filter to make sure lead is listed as something that will be filtered out.
- If you don't use a filter, flush your pipes before using water for drinking or cooking. The Centers for Disease Control says if the water has been sitting in the pipes for more than six hours run the COLD water for 1-2 minutes before using it.
- If the lead in your home is coming from the pipes at the street, run the cold water at a high volume tap like your shower for 5 minutes if its been standing for more than six hours. Then, run the cold water at your kitchen on cold for another 1-2 minutes.
- Never cook with or drink water from the HOT water tap. Hot water can contain much higher levels of lead.
- Know that it IS safe to shower if your water has lead in it. The CDC says human skin does not absorb lead in water.
Additional Consumer Information
- For more information on lead in water from the Environmental Protection Agency, click here.
- For more information on lead in water from the Centers for Disease Control, click here.
- To find out if you have a lead service line in the District, contact DCWASA’s Lead Services Hotline at (202) 787-2732 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you have questions about blood lead testing, contact DC DOH at (202) 671-5000.
- To find out about NSF-certified plumbing and water treatment products, visit NSF’s website.
- To find a certified lab for water testing, visit EPA’s listing of state drinking water laboratory certification agencies.
- Access the listing of certified drinking water laboratories in Maryland.
- Access the listing of certified drinking water laboratories in Virginia.