The U.S. EPA recommends the following steps:
• Flush your pipes before drinking – The more time water has been sitting in your home’s pipes, the more lead it may contain. Anytime water in a particular faucet has not been used for six hours or longer, flush the cold-water pipes by running the water until it becomes as cold as it will get. This could take as little as 30 seconds if there has been recent heavy water use such as showering or toilet flushing. To save water, use the water you flush out for watering plants.
• Use cold water for eating and drinking – Use only water from the cold-water tap for drinking, cooking and especially for making baby formula. Hot water is likely to contain higher levels of lead. Run cold water until it becomes as cold as it can get. Boiling water will not get rid of lead contamination.
• Use water filters or treatment devices – Many water filters and water treatment devices are certified by independent organizations for effective lead reduction. Devices that are not designed to remove lead will not work. Verify the claims of manufacturers by contacting NSF International (National Sanitation Foundation) at 800.NSF.8010 or visiting www.nsf.org. Some water filters that remove lead also remove fluoride. Residents with children may wish to discuss fluoride replacement with a dentist.
• Use bottled water – In homes with elevated lead levels, bottled drinking water should be used by pregnant women, breast-feeding women, young children and formula-fed infants.