Lead and tap waterWater contaminated with lead
The Safe Drinking Water Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set and enforce standards to protect public drinking water systems. In the United States, the amount of lead in drinking water should be below 15 parts per billion.
The agency requires water suppliers to produce annual water quality reports. These reports include information about lead amounts. The reports are available to the public.
For more information, call the EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791) and the National Lead Information Center ( 800-424-5323).
United States Environmental Protection Agency website. Basic information about lead in drinking water. www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/basic-information-about-lead-drinking-water. Updated March 28, 2019. Accessed June 25, 2019.
Lead testing - illustration
Lead is a natural element with thousands of uses. Because it is widespread (and often hidden) lead can easily contaminate food and water where it is undetectable to the eye or taste.
Review Date: 6/23/2019
Reviewed By: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Emeritus, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.