We believe that boiling water makes the water completely safe for drinking.
But does boiling water remove lead? Unfortunately, “No”! Though boiling kills bacteria and removes chlorine, it can’t remove or reduce lead. In fact, it increases the lead concentrations in your drinking water.
Here’s what removes lead:
Keep reading to get the detailed lead removal guide.
- 🤔 Can You Boil Lead Out of Water?
- 🔚 How Do You Remove Lead From Water?
- ✅ What Is an Acceptable Level of Lead in Water?
- Signs of Lead in Water (Adults, Children & in Pregnancy)
- 🥛 Does Boiling Water Remove Lead: FAQs
🤔 Can You Boil Lead Out of Water?
The simple answer is – “No.” It is impossible to take lead out of drinking water by taking it to boiling temperatures. Unlike chlorine, lead is a heavy metal that doesn’t turn into vapor when the water’s boiling point is attained.
As the water gets converted into vapor, the mineral content including lead remains the same. It leads to an increase in lead concentration in each gallon of water. Hot water can dissolve lead easily as increased temperature causes the lead molecules to move faster (as they gain kinetic energy), resulting in the breakage of the molecular bonds. So, boiling lead-contaminated water pushes your health further at risk.
Also Read: Does Boiling Water Remove Minerals?
🔚 How Do You Remove Lead From Water?
Before going for water treatment methods, you should first go for a lead water test. It will help you know if any lead is present in your home water (and, if present, how much).
Since lead has no tell-tale signs due to a lack of distinctive taste, odor, or color. Also, it might be present in minute quantities, which is why we cannot detect it with our senses.
The only way to test it is through a Lab test which you can do from Tapscore. Here are the benefits of using Tapscore for lab testing:
Remember, lead levels may differ for each home based on their pipes’ or plumbing fixtures’ material (lead or other) and their ages.
No matter what the local water quality report says, lead may enter your home’s water from various metal faucets, fixtures, and internal water pipes or from any other tubes that act as a bridge between your home and the main water line.
So, performing a lead test for your drinking water separately in the lab is necessary to save yourself from the fatal effects of lead.
There are five effective methods to remove lead from your drinking water:
🔄 Reverse Osmosis
A reverse osmosis water filtration system effectively removes up to 99.1% lead from tap water.
The various staged water filters of the RO system, along with the tiny pores of its reverse osmosis membrane, trap lead and other metals and prevent them from passing to the final water to make it fit for drinking.
First, however, you must ensure that your reverse osmosis water filtration system is NSF 53 certified for lead reduction.
A reverse osmosis water filtration system wastes 4 gallons of water per 1 gallon of purified water on average.
Distillation is ideal if you’re tight on budget and want a cost-effective remedy. It’s a method of purifying your drinking water with the help of evaporation.
First, the water turns into steam leaving behind lead. Next, steam cools down, turning into distilled water. The purified water gets collected in a jug. But you need to get water distillers for your home that are WQA-approved.
Unlike reverse osmosis systems, distillation is time-consuming.
🍼 Use Bottled Water
Drinking bottled water is another way to save yourself from lead hazards. Bottled water manufacturers have to follow FDA standards which include the following:
Bottles of water for regular water consumption can be expensive.
🚰 Flush Cold Water
Flushing or running your cold tap water for 3 to 5 minutes before drinking or cooking also helps remove lead from your home water, thus saving your body from lead exposure. This applies to those with a lead service line. If you possess a lead-free service line like galvanized steel, copper or plastic, flushing the cold water for 30 to 60 seconds will work.
Enquiring your public water system authority about your service line will help you know whether it’s made of lead or lead-free. You can store the lead-free drinking water (after flushing is done) in your refrigerator to reduce your number of flushing.
To protect yourself from lead exposure, flush cold water from each faucet separately for some time before using the water. Flushing lead-contaminated drinking water from one tap doesn’t mean you have eliminated lead from others.
🛐 Replace Old Lead Pipes
Lead fixtures, when it turns old, start lead leaching. Also, sometimes the copper pipes of your home’s plumbing system are soldered with lead.
The Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed that the lead getting leached from the lead service lines and pipes or the lead solder are the primary origin points of lead. When mixed with home water, this lead makes it deadly to drink.
Taking professional help will allow you to identify all the pipes or fixtures made of lead. Then, they will change your old lead plumbing systems with new ones (made of copper or PVC). This is the best step for getting safe drinking water (devoid of lead) forever.
Flushing water from your cold water tap, though a simple and immediate solution for eliminating lead, is limited for a small body of water supply and is a temporary fix. The permanent way to remove lead is to replace your home’s lead pipes.
Also, never try to flush lead-contaminated water from your hot water tap, as boiling or heating water increases the relative percentage of lead in water instead of lessening it.
✅ What Is an Acceptable Level of Lead in Water?
Though once considered a miracle metal (which casket does Bassanio open?), it is now proven that even small amounts of lead can be harmful and may eventually cause lead poisoning within your body.
So there’s no safe level of lead. Besides, lead may impose a much greater risk to children than to adults.
Flint residents dangerously experienced the effects of the lead after the authorities switched the city water supply to save cost. As a result, thousands of inhabitants under the new public water supply got ill with Legionnaire disease, and 12 died.
Signs of Lead in Water (Adults, Children & in Pregnancy)
🔴 Health Effects of Lead on Adults
🔴 Effects of Lead on Children
🔴 Effects of Lead on Pregnant Women
🥛 Does Boiling Water Remove Lead: FAQs
What does boiling water remove?
Boiling water generally removes or destroys various disease-causing microorganisms such as bacteria, protozoa, etc. However, if you intend to remove other contaminants (for example, heavy metals and chemicals, salts) from your home’s water supply, don’t try to boil water as it will not help remove lead or other strong contaminants. You must install a reverse osmosis filtration system at your home to eliminate them.
Does a Brita remove lead?
Yes, Brita faucet or Longlast+ filters are certified to remove up to 99% of lead from your home water supply. However, Brita’s standard, stream, or bottle filter cannot work against lead contamination.
A standard Brita filter can eliminate/reduce chlorine, mercury, and copper from your drinking water but not lead. Similarly, a stream Brita filter can only eliminate chlorine’s foul odor and taste. Likewise, a bottled Brita filter fails to fight against lead water contamination of your home’s water supply and can lessen only chlorine (Cl) and class 1 particulate matter.
How to remove lead from water naturally?
You can naturally remove lead from your home water supply by flushing your home tap water (separately for each tap) each time you use it and letting the lead run with water for a few minutes. However, if still, after flushing, the test says that a significant amount of lead is present in your home water supply, then installing proper water treatment systems like reverse osmosis or water distillation would be the wisest decision.
Note: You can’t reduce the amount of lead in your home’s drinking water by boiling it. Boiling water with lead acts negatively and raises the lead concentration within the water, thus imposing more threats to your health.
Can lead naturally occur in water?
No, lead never occurs naturally in water sources. Instead, it enters your home water supply from various lead water pipes or other plumbing fixtures made of lead as they turn old and causes adverse health effects to the human body. So, to save yourself from lead exposure and the health problems caused by it, regularly check your lead service lines, outlets, and plumbing materials and replace them as soon as they turn old.
Also, you can take more decisive action against lead by asking a professional to throw away all of your home’s pipes, fixtures, or plumbing accessories made of lead and replace them with new lead-free ones.
How to know if the lead is in water?
You can’t detect the presence of lead in water with your naked eye or by tasting it. So, the only way to know how much lead is present in your home water supply is to do a lead test from a certified lab like Tapscore. Just send a water sample of your home water to its well-trusted scientific lab and water experts, and it will take a few days to confirm the presence of lead in the water supply.
Adarsh is a Health & Nutrition Sciences graduate with expertise in environmental health. He is associated with ventures like Glacier Fresh Filter and Simpure Filter Systems. Through Aqua Professor, he intends to provide helpful information to every home to help them make smarter decisions.