There are steps you can take short of turning to bottled water to ensure your household’s safety.
The cheapest and easiest protection: If water has been sitting in the pipes for six hours or longer, let it run for two minutes before drinking or cooking.
That doesn’t mean you have to waste it: You can use it for some other purpose, such as flushing a toilet, watering a garden or doing the dishes.
Home water filters are an option, but not all protect against lead. Verify manufacturers’ claims before purchasing a home water filter. One source is the National Sanitation Foundation (1-877-867-3435).
If you want to confirm that your water is lead free, get a test. The state Department of Ecology website lists accredited labs.
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Using bottled drinking water is not necessary unless you confirm there is lead in your tap water. It is a very expensive choice to make without confirming risk, at about 1,000 times the cost of tap water. It also adds to pollution, from the production and disposal of plastic bottles.
Be sure any plumbing fixtures purchased for your home are certified lead-free; check the packaging.
Typical sources of lead exposure in the home are not water, but dust, soil and some consumer products. To minimize this, dust and vacuum frequently, wash children’s toys and practice frequent hand-washing.
If you are concerned about lead exposure in a child under 6, consult your pediatrician about a blood test to assess lead levels.