Skip to Main Content

Start Of Main Content

Is lead lurking in your tap water?

Corrosion in your water-supply system can expose your family to health risks.

Rinsing greens in a colander

Your drinking water may not be as safe as you think especially if your home has lead plumbing. Corrosion in your home's plumbing and water-supply system can allow lead to leach into your tap water, exposing your family to potential health risks every time they take a drink.

Know the risks

Lead can affect family members differently depending on their age and development. Children and pregnant women are most at risk.

  • Infants: Delays in physical and mental abilities
  • Children: Brain and nervous system damage, behavioral and learning problems, lower IQ, issues with hearing, slowed growth and anemia
  • Adults: Nervous system impairment, high blood pressure, hypertension, kidney problems, and reproductive issues

Test your water

You can't see, smell, or taste lead, so how do you know if your water is contaminated? The answer: regular testing. If your home was built before 1986, there is a greater risk that your plumbing has lead-containing materials. But regardless of your home's age, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends testing your water regularly if it comes from a private water system. Most public water systems test for contaminants annually. However, these tests reflect the water quality of the entire system not individual homes.

Testing kits are available at most home improvement stores. To get the best results, the EPA recommends sending your sample to a certified laboratory in your area.

Take precautions

If your water tests positive for lead, there are things you can do to reduce risk in the short-term and long-term. But first, visit your doctor to make sure no one in your family has high levels of lead in their system.

Here are some things you can do at home:

  • Use the cold-water tap it has lower levels of lead than warm water.
  • Flush your pipes by running your tap for at least one minute until the water becomes cold if it hasn't been used for the last six hours.
  • Replace lead plumbing pipes. According to the EPA, lead is a dull gray metal that can be easily scratched.
  • Use bottled or distilled water.
  • Use a filter certified to remove lead from your water.

If you have questions about your drinking water, call the EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.

State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates) is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites hyperlinked from this page. State Farm has no discretion to alter, update, or control the content on the hyperlinked, third party site. Access to third party sites is at the user's own risk, is being provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any of the products which may be referenced on such third party sites.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.


Get a Quote

Select a product to start a quote.


Contact Us

844-373-0003 844-373-0003

Also Important

What Is Indoor Air Pollution and What Can You Do About It?

What Is Indoor Air Pollution and What Can You Do About It?

Indoor air quality can be worse than outdoor. So learn what to do about air pollutants.

Are Electric Blankets Safe?

Are Electric Blankets Safe?

Electric blankets and heating pads make cozy companions. Before you plug yours in, consider these safety tips.

Related Articles

Tips and Information About Tools for Detecting Radon Gas

Tips and Information About Tools for Detecting Radon Gas

How to test for and treat your home for this colorless, odorless and dangerous gas.

Ideas on How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing

Ideas on How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing

Steps you might take to keep your pipes from turning frigid nights into inconvenient, and expensive ordeals.

3 Do-It-Yourself Home Repairs

3 Do-It-Yourself Home Repairs

When to do it yourself and save money, and when you should hire a professional for home repairs.