Lead in Drinking Water

Lead has a tendency to be complexed and precipitated by a large number of substances. Studies indicate that nearly all the lead in users’ tap water does not come from the primary water source or from the municipal treatment plant, but as a result of corrosion that occurs after the water leaves the treatment facility. Lead can enter the home drinking water by leaching from service connections, solder used in copper piping and from brass fixtures.

Click here to download Lead in Drinking Water - Frequently Asked Questions.

Contaminant  In Water As Action Level
Lead (Pb) Pb(OH)2, PbCO3, and Pb2O



Action Level* = 0.015 mg/L
MCGL** = 0.00 mg/L (or ppm)

WHO Guideline = 0.01 mg/L

Sources of Contaminant

  • Mostly lead service lines, lead containing solder, and brass fittings of different types
  • Industrial processes, mines, and smelting (not a direct source into water)

Potential Health Effects

  • Children are more at risk than adults
  • Reduced intelligence, impaired hearing and decreased growth in children
  • Damage to the brain, kidneys, and bone marrow
  • Damage nervous system and red blood cells

Treatment Methods

Point-of-Entry (POE)

Point-of-Use (POU)

  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Solid Block and Precoat Adsorption Filters (properly designed submicron filtration and absorption adsorption media)
  • Strong Acid Cation Exchange (Na+ Form)
  • Distillation

Click here to open WQA's Technical Fact Sheet on Lead.

Click here to access all of WQA's Technical Fact Sheets.

Click here for a list of products certified by WQA for lead reduction (standards WQAS-200, NSF/ANSI 53, NSF/ANSI 58 and NSF/ANSI 62).