What should I do if I’m concerned about lead in my drinking water?

There are simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of exposure to lead in drinking water:

  • Use a water filter certified to reduce lead in the water (NSF 53 filters are certified to remove lead from water). A filter can be provided to you by the Berrien County Health Department at no charge to you. It is important to replace the filter’s cartridge as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • If you do not have a filter and have not used your water for 6 hours or more, flush your pipes to reduce the amount of lead in your drinking water. You can flush your pipes by running your faucets, taking a shower, running a load of laundry, or doing a load of dishes for at least 5 minutes. After flushing, run the water from your faucet until cold before drinking or cooking with the water.
  • After flushing your pipes, you can use cold water from your faucet for drinking, cooking, and for rinsing fruits and vegetables. Do not use hot tap water for these activities.
  • Use bottled or filtered water for making powdered baby formula. You can also use Ready to Feed (RTF) formula. If you are a WIC client, you can call the Benton Harbor WIC Clinic at (269) 926-7121.
  • Do not heat or boil your water to remove lead. Hot water will increase the amount of lead in the water.
  • You can use cold water from your faucet for brushing your teeth.
  • You can shower or bathe with the water.
  • Clean your faucets’ aerators or screens at least every 6 months. For more information on how to clean your aerator, see the “Cleaning Your Aerators” fact sheet below.

Show All Answers

1. What is lead?
2. How can I be exposed to lead?
3. How does lead get into the water supply?
4. How can I prevent being exposed to lead in my water?
5. What should I do if I’m concerned about lead in my drinking water?
6. Why does flushing the water before drinking make it safe?
7. What are some of the health problems lead can cause?
8. Where can I get my child’s blood tested for lead?
9. What does an "elevated blood lead level" mean?
10. Should I have my child tested for lead?
11. What does the data show about children with elevated blood lead levels?
12. Where can I go to get my water tested?
13. Will it cost me anything to get my water tested for lead?
14. How was lead in the water discovered?
15. What is being done to solve this problem?
16. What else is the Berrien County Health Department doing?
17. What is a lead service line?
18. How do I know if I have a lead service line going to my house?
19. What about restaurants in the City of Benton Harbor? What are the recommendations?
20. Where can I go to find more information?