Posted by Dr. Roy M. Speiser, V.P., CWR, Environmental on Jan 9th 2024

​Lead: An Old Health Nemesis Still Persists in U.S. Water Supply

For more than four decades as a health practitioner and Water Specialist, I've been deeply concerned about lead contamination affecting public drinking water supplies across America -- something which remains alarmingly persistent across generations of Americans.

Recent Analysis by NRDC Reveals Widespread Lead Contamination

An analysis conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), utilizing EPA data, brings alarming revelations of widespread lead contamination affecting 56 percent of Americans. Shockingly, over 61 million individuals receive water from systems with more than 5 parts per billion lead levels, a level NRDC deems too high for tap water. (NDRC: Millions Served by Water Systems Detecting Lead) Additionally, around 7 million people are supplied water exceeding the EPA's Lead Action Level of 15 ppb, triggering the need for urgent measures to reduce lead levels. The EPA’s ideal maximum concentration level goal (MCLG) is ZERO, which would not cause any risk to health.

It is crucial to note that consensus among the EPA and health experts asserts that no level of lead is safe -- any amount above zero is considered a risk.

A Decade After Flint's Water Wake-Up Call

The Safe Drinking Water Act, first signed into law in 1974, serves as the cornerstone of U.S. public health law and aims to ensure safe drinking water by setting standards for local utilities. While progress has been made, with additional lead reduction guidelines in the new EPA “Copper and Lead Rule of 2021,” substantial work remains. The EPA estimates that 6 - 10 million lead service lines are still in use nationwide. This means countless families continue to receive water through main pipes and plumbing in homes built prior to 1986 made of lead.

The Health Toll of Lead in Our Water Supplies

In children, exposure to lead can result in decreased IQ, attention span, and contribute to new or exacerbated learning and behavioral problems. The detrimental effects extend to the prenatal period, as children born to individuals exposed to lead during pregnancy face an increased risk of these harmful health outcomes.

For adults, the risks associated with lead exposure are equally alarming. Dr. Bruce P. Lanphear, MD, MPH says, “No amount of lead is safe. Most people know children’s brains are vulnerable to this toxic metal, but lead is also a striking risk factor for fatal heart disease in adults. Lead pipes are a major source of lead in drinking water, so states and cities must urgently replace them.”

How to Get the Lead Out

As we turn on our water taps in our home, the last thing we expect is a 'toxic soup' -- a blend of contaminants introduced during water treatment and from toxic waste sites leaching toxins into the source water. Unfortunately, however, all our water supplies have become polluted with toxic chemicals -- it is up to us as individuals to take steps to safeguard ourselves and our family’s wellbeing.

Here are some suggestions to reduce lead exposure:

  1. Stop using metal water bottles, pots and utensils made in China. They can leach lead and other heavy metals.
  2. When using unfiltered water to prepare food or for drinking, use cold water instead of hot and run the water for five minutes. Hot water is more likely to leach lead from pipes, so using cold water reduces the risk of lead exposure.
  3. Discourage your children from drinking water from fountains at school and childcare facilities. They may contain lead and do not filter out lead from the source water. Take a sports bottle with filtered water from home if available.
  4. Consult with a Water Specialist to accurately evaluate lead levels in your drinking water. Based upon their advice, install a customized filter near where water is consumed - such as on your kitchen faucet. Also, the filters should remove other detected contaminants.

One of the best things you can do to protect the health and well-being of yourself and your family is to ensure that the water coming into your home is free from contaminants, particularly lead.

For more information and a complimentary consultation, contact:

Dr. Roy Speiser
Clean Water Revival, Inc.
1-800-444-3563 toll free or 1-772-919-8700 outside the U.S.


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Natural Resources Defense Council, “Millions Served by Water Systems Detecting Lead.” Accessed 2024 from

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NRDC. “Getting the Lead Out: Removing Lead Pipes Would Yield Hundreds of Billions of Dollars in Health Benefits” (Oct 25, 2023).