Today’s question: How can I get lead or copper out of my drinking water?
Plain Talk answer: If testing has indicated a problem, if your water is corrosive or if you have rusty water or blue-green stains in your sink, take the following precautions.
Whenever water has not been used for a long period of time – overnight or during the day if no one is home – let cold water run from the faucet for about two minutes or until you get colder water before using any water for drinking or cooking. Just how long it takes for fresh water from street pipes to arrive at the faucet depends on your specific location, water pressure, whether you live in a single-family home or an apartment and so forth. Save the first-draw water for other purposes, such as plant watering. Running the water for two minutes may not flush out all the lead that got into the water while it was sitting in your plumbing, but it should dilute it to acceptable levels.
Home treatment equipment that contain lead-removing filters, reverse osmosis systems and distillation units remove lead dissolved in water. Check to see whether the performance of these products has been tested for lead reduction by independent testing and certifying organizations following the methods contained in the appropriate ANSI/NSF “Drinking Water Treatment Unit” standard. More information about home drinking water units can be found on NSF International’s Web site, www.nsf.org/certified/dwtu.
For more information on this and many other water-related topics, check out Plain Talk About Drinking Water by Dr. James M. Symons.