Testing for lead in water can be a challenging process. While the action level for lead is 15 ppb, the EPA has not set an action level below that level. If you suspect your water contains lead, you must first identify the sources and assess the risk. There are many ways to get a test, including mail-in methods and non-profit services.
Tests are done by mail-in
If you have concerns about lead levels in your water, you can get a free lead testing kit. The test can identify lead in your plumbing system and water supply. The results are sent to you via mail. If you suspect that your water has elevated levels of lead, you can contact your public water utility for further assistance.
Water supplies in New York City are usually lead-free if they are delivered from upstate reservoirs and distribution systems. However, drinking water can still contain elevated levels of lead when it is absorbed from pipes and fixtures. Therefore, it is important to get your water tested if you suspect it is containing lead levels higher than those found in other homes in the area.
EPA set action level for lead at 15ppb
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the current “lead action level” in water is 15 parts per billion. This level is based on a provision in the drinking water rule that requires utilities to take steps to prevent lead corrosion and leaching. No home can exceed this testing for lead in water limit, but utilities must notify all customers of the results.
While the action level for lead is set at fifteen parts per billion, it is based on a number of factors, including how feasible it is to reduce it to a level of 15 parts per billion. First, the EPA must assess whether any amount of lead is dangerous. It must also take into account cost and technical feasibility.
Identifying potential sources of lead contamination
When lead is present in drinking water, it is a health hazard. Lead can leach into the water through plumbing fixtures or corroding pipes. Older homes and communities with older infrastructure are likely to have higher levels of lead than newer ones. Therefore, identifying potential sources of lead contamination in water is a must.
If you suspect that you’ve been exposed to lead in drinking water, you should contact your health care provider to get a blood lead test. Although many people do not show any symptoms, a blood lead test can help you determine if you’ve been exposed to lead. Your health care provider can also recommend appropriate follow-up steps.
Cost of testing for lead in water
Lead can be found in drinking water from many sources, including the corrosive plumbing in older homes and natural deposits. While lead in drinking water is rarely harmful, it can accumulate in plumbing over time and become a source of lead exposure. Lead in water can also be transferred from the mother to the fetus, so testing for lead in drinking water is important for pregnant women. Lead does not enter the bloodstream through the skin, so bathing in water that contains lead should be avoided unless you are absolutely sure that your water is lead-free.
There are state-certified water testing labs that can test water for lead. You can find a list of these labs on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection website. Alternatively, you can find a certified lab near you by contacting your state’s Department of Ecology. Testing for lead can cost anywhere from $15 to $100, depending on the type of test you need.