Does Boiling Water Remove Lead Effectively?

does boiling water remove lead

Does boiling water remove lead from the drinking water? Lead is a toxic metal that can negatively affect health and can find in drinking water. Boiling water effectively purifies water and kills microorganisms, but does boiling water remove lead? 

We will examine the importance of having your water tested for lead, other contaminants, and other methods you can use to help remove lead from drinking water. Finally, I will offer some solutions to help reduce lead contamination in drinking water. So, read on to find does boiling water remove lead or not. 

Does Boiling Water Remove Lead From The Drinking Water?

Contrary to popular belief, boiling water is not an effective method to eliminate lead contamination. In fact, boiling water can potentially increase the concentration of lead, as the evaporation of water leaves behind a higher percentage of lead in the remaining liquid. For safe drinking water, always use cold water, and consider installing certified water filters or using alternative water sources for cooking, drinking, and preparing infant formula. To ensure optimal water quality, it’s crucial to stay informed and take appropriate actions for lead removal in your household water supply.

Unless contaminants are volatile and have a boiling point equal to or lower than that of water, which is the case for chlorine but most definitely not for lead, boiling water does not eliminate any contaminants.

Why Is Lead Dangerous?

Lead is a naturally occurring element used in manufacturing for thousands of years. While some uses of lead are essential, many of them are not. 

Lead is dangerous as it can build up in the human body over time. Lead accumulation in the body can adversely affect health and possibly result in death. Children are especially vulnerable to lead as their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults. 

This is also because children are still growing, and their bodies will take in more nutrients from the foods they eat and the air they breathe than adult bodies do. This increased intake of nutrients makes it easier for lead to build up in children’s bodies. 

Lead poisoning is especially harmful to children as it can interfere with normal brain development, which may have lasting effects into adulthood.

Sources of Lead Contamination in Drinking Water

While we can well document the health risks of lead contamination in drinking water, we often need clarification in determining the source of lead in water. 

Lead can enter drinking water from several sources, including corrosion of household plumbing, the release of lead from industrial sites, and contamination from lead-based household fixtures. 


1. Corrosion of Household Plumbing 

The most common source of lead contamination in drinking water is corrosion of household plumbing. As water travels through the pipes within your plumbing system, it can dissolve small amounts of lead from pipes, contaminating the drinking water. 

This can be a serious issue as the water goes through numerous parts of the home’s plumbing before it reaches the tap due to the type of water system used in most developed nations.

 2. Release of Lead from Industrial Sites 

Industrial sites may discharge significant amounts of lead into nearby water systems.

Occasionally, industrial sites can release large amounts of lead into nearby water sources. 

Because of the significant lead pollution, this can cause in drinking water; the only option is to advise the locals to find another water source. 

3. Contamination from Lead-based Household Fixtures

Lead-based fixtures such as water taps, pipes, or faucets can release small amounts of lead into the water supply. 

While these fixtures are often secure under normal working circumstances, some may release enough lead pollution to pose a significant health risk to the public.

4. Lead-Containing Soil 

Lead pipes and lead-based plumbing fixtures can break and end up in the soil surrounding the building. 


Rain and flooding can also cause soil to mix with drinking water and bring lead into the water supply.

How Lead Affects Health?

Lead is a heavy metal that is highly toxic to the human body. It can get into your water due to corrosion of lead pipes, lead-based solder, or lead-containing fixtures in your water system.

 Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has regulated lead in drinking water since 1991, the problem remains widespread. Lead in drinking water can affect anyone, but infants and children under 6 are at the most risk. 


According to the CDC, no amount of lead is considered safe for children, and even low levels can affect growth and development. Lead can cause lifelong health effects, including;

  • It causes neurological damage, leading to lower intelligence, increased aggression, and attention disorders. 
  • Developmental delays and reduced growth in infants.  
  • Damaged kidneys and the potential for kidney failure. 
  • Liver damage. 
  • Anemia, due to the lead blocking the body’s ability to absorb iron from foods. 
  • Miscarriages and reduced fertility in both men and women.

Children and pregnant women are more susceptible to lead poisoning and should take extra precautions to minimize their lead exposure.

How to Reduce the Amount of Lead in Your Water?

If the water has high levels of lead, there are several methods you can take to reduce it. The right way to reduce the amount of lead in your water is to replace your water pipes. This may not be feasible for everyone; however, it is one of the best methods for lowering the lead content of the water. 


Other ways to reduce the amount of lead in your water include:

1. Install Water Filter

A quick way to lessen lead exposure in your water is to install a water filter on your faucet. Water filters remove contaminants from your water, including lead, so you can enjoy safe, clean drinking water. 

There are a wide variety of water filters that you can use, including carbon filters, reverse osmosis filters, and pitcher filters. Whichever filter you choose, be sure it is NSF certified to ensure that it removes lead from your water. 

You can use filter cleaners to clean your water filter and remove harmful contaminants. Changing your water filter is essential to prevent harmful contaminants from building up and causing damage to your water system. Moreover, frequently deep-clean your water filter to eliminate any impurities that build up inside.

  • Carbon Filters

Carbon filters are one of the most widely used techniques for removing lead from the water as they are efficient in this task. 

There are various carbon filters, including activated carbon, granular activated carbon, and powdered activated carbon. Some carbon filters have a carbon element that can replace when it becomes clogged with lead. 

  • Reverse Osmosis Filters 

Reverse osmosis filters are another standard method used to remove lead from water. These filters use a combination of pressure and a semipermeable membrane to remove the lead. 

2. Distillation 

Distillation is a more advanced technique for removing lead and is more complicated than other methods. It can use to remove lead from water, but it is essential to use it properly to be effective. 

3. Check Your Plumbing

Ensure you thoroughly flush out your plumbing system each year, and check for any leaks. You can use a lead test kit to check for lead in your plumbing and replace any parts that appear to be leaching lead. 

You can also add a phosphate inhibitor to your water system to help prevent lead from leaching into your water. 

By thoroughly inspecting your plumbing system each year, you can make sure that your plumbing is free from lead. This will help reduce your lead exposure, and it can also help to extend the lifespan of your water system.

4. Test Your Water for Lead

While it is crucial to reduce lead exposure, it is also essential to know if your water has high lead levels. You can do a lead test to test your water for lead and talk to a professional water expert. 

This will help you identify the lead levels in your water so that you can take steps to reduce your lead exposure.

What Is Lead Testing In Water?

Lead testing in water is a type of water quality testing that detects and measures lead concentration in a solution. 

This testing is common in commercial and residential water systems and is used to identify potential sources of contamination and areas that may need additional treatment. 


Parts per billion are the units used to measure lead in water (ppb). For reference, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires water systems to maintain a lead level below 15 ppb. 

You might be unable to use your water system for drinking or cooking if the test results exceed this limit. Lead testing is the only way to confirm whether or not your water is safe. Water can contain lead in several forms — some of which might not be odorous or visible. 

Types of Lead Testing In Water

Several types of lead testing in water include visual inspection, water sampling, and analysis by chemical strip, water filter, or various testing methods. 


1. Visual Inspection 

The quickest and least expensive technique to check for lead in water is to analyze it visually. This method relies on visual cues, such as the color and smell of the water, as well as a water system’s visible corrosion and plumbing. 

These visual cues can help identify potential sources of contamination and determine if additional testing is necessary. However, visual inspection alone is not a reliable method of testing for lead in water

2. Water Sampling

Water sampling is another type of lead testing in a water sample that collects a representative sample for analysis. Various methods can use to collect a water sample, including a sampling bottle, syringe, and test strip. 

3. Testing by Chemical Strip 

A chemical strip is another type of lead testing in water that uses a chemical reaction to determine the presence of lead in water. While these strips can be an effective and affordable way to test the water, they can produce false negatives and positives.

Safety And Quality Standards for Lead in Water

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that water systems maintain a lead level below 15 ppb. The maximum contamination threshold set by the EPA for young children is far lower, at just 1 ppb. For healthy adults, the only short-term health risks associated with lead in water are gastric irritation and the formation of lead salts in the plumbing and on surfaces inside the home. 

Lead in water increases the risk of harmful health effects in young children, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems. Young children are especially vulnerable because they are more likely to drink more water than older people, and their growing bodies require more water than fully developed adult bodies.

Cost of Lead Test in Water 

The cost of lead testing in water can vary greatly, depending on the method and type of test used. 


1. Visual Inspection

It is the least expensive method, while water sampling and analysis by chemical strip are more expensive. While a DIY visual inspection method can be as inexpensive as zero, professional businesses may charge a fixed fee for this testing. 

2. Water Sampling 

Costs for professional water sampling might range from $20 for the test to $75 for the analysis. DIY water sampling kits cost around $5 for a basic kit, which usually includes enough supplies for one sample. 

3. Testing by Chemical Strip 

Chemical strip tests typically cost less than $2 each. Professional water testing can cost between $10 and $40 per sample.

Lead Testing in Water Regulations

There are no specific regulations regarding lead testing in water. 

Instead, water quality standards are regulated by health organizations, such as the EPA and the WHO. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the significance of test results and take the appropriate action when an unacceptable level of lead is found in water. 

The EPA suggests testing your water for lead if you use a public water system, have a well that has been in use for 10 years or longer, or have a child under 6 living in your home. In addition, you may want to test your water for lead if you have experienced unexplained health issues or have noticed visible signs of corrosion or leaching in your water system.

What are the Other Steps that can Take to Ensure Safe Drinking Water?

In addition to boiling water and using a water filter, there are other steps to ensure safe drinking water.

1. Test Your Water

Check to see whether lead or other harmful contaminants contaminate your water. The EPA recommends testing your water at least once every year. 

2. Ensure that Your Water Source is Safe

Municipal water systems are required to test their water regularly. However, these systems often extend beyond city boundaries, making the water unsafe for some people. 

To ensure a safe water source, consider using a water filter on your faucet, purchasing a water filtration pitcher, or installing a whole-house water filtration system.

3. Seal Cracks

Cracks in floors, walls, and foundations can allow contaminants, such as lead, to enter your home. These cracks can seal with a sealant, paint, or epoxy to keep pollutants out of your water.

4. Avoid Lead Exposure

You can prevent high-lead paint, drinking tap water, and using lead-free plumbing in your home. You can also use water filters to reduce your exposure to lead.

Signs of Lead in Your Water

If you are concerned that your water may contain lead, there are a few signs that you can watch out for. Be aware that these may not be present in all cases, so if you think you may have lead in your water, it’s best to get it tested. 

You might notice one or more of the following signs if your water contains lead. These signs include: 

1. Metallic Taste: This is usually one of the first lead signs in your water. If your water has an “off” taste, this may be due to lead contamination. 

 2. Discolored Water: If your water looks cloudy or has an unusual color, it may have lead.  

3. Cloudy Sediment: If you see gray sediment particles in the bottom of your water pitcher or toilet bowl, this is a sign of lead in your water.

4. Metallic Smell: If your water has high levels of lead, you may experience a metallic smell. Like with the taste, the smell may vary depending on the amount of lead in your water.

5. Stained Fixtures: If your fixtures are of materials that leach lead, then they will cause a stain. If you notice discoloration on your fixtures, set aside time to test for lead in your water. 

Lead is a contaminant that can remain in your drinking water even after treatment. Recognizing the lead indicators in your water is crucial, as this can arise for various reasons.

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Conclusion: Does Boiling Water Remove Lead?

I hope this guide has helped you to find out the question, does boiling water remove lead?

Lead contamination in drinking water can be a serious health hazard, particularly for young children. It can cause neurological damage, stunted growth, and other severe health conditions. 

You can reduce the amount of lead in your water by getting a water filter that reduces lead. You can also use a water treatment system to remove lead from your water.  

FAQs on Does Boiling Water Remove Lead.

Can you shower in lead-contaminated water?

Yes, it is safe to shower in lead-contaminated water. Human skin does not absorb lead from water, so it should be safe for kids and adults to bathe in lead-contaminated water. Although, it is possible to ingest marginal amounts of lead while showering or bathing if the water gets into your mouth.

Can Lead in Water Make You Sick?

According to the EPA, lead poses a serious health threat, especially for pregnant women, infants, and young children. For example, lead exposure in children can cause issues like delays in physical development, behavioral problems, and damage to growing brains.

Is lead-containing water safe to use for tooth brushing?

Brushing your teeth in lead-containing water is acceptable to an extent. But take caution not to consume it! Make sure you use filtered sink water mostly to clean your teeth.

Does tap water have lead?

When lead-containing plumbing components corrode, lead can end up in drinking water, especially when the water’s acidity or mineral content is high enough to diminish pipes and fixtures. Lead pipes, faucets, and fixtures are the most common sources of lead in drinking water.

Does soft water remove lead? 

Lead cannot be removed from a water supply using a water softener. Water softeners lessen the hardness of water by removing elements like calcium, magnesium, and iron.

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