Lead in Water

Everyone should have safe, clean drinking water. The only way to know if your tap water contains lead is to have it tested. You cannot see, taste, or smell lead in drinking water. The EPA estimates that drinking water accounts for about 20% of our lead intake nationally. For some people, water can be the biggest source of lead exposure. Healthy Homes reports Alameda County's water is "relatively lead free."

How Lead Gets in Water

Lead normally enters the drinking water from service lines, solder in copper piping, and brass faucet fixtures.  Lead-based solder was used to join standard copper water pipes until 1988 when lead solder was outlawed. New faucets can leach lead into water during the first five years after installation.  The lead is leached out while the water sits in the pipes and fixtures.

The health impacts of lead in water became clear after the experiences of Flint, Michigan. Since then, homeowners, tenants, and public facilities like schools are more concerned and doing more testing of their water supplies to ensure the most vulnerable people – namely children – are not being exposed to lead.

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