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Water filters can help remove many contaminants from water, but there’s a lot more to consider when it comes to eliminating lead.
In this article, you’ll find out if water filters can actually make your water lead-free.
You’ll also get important tips on filtering lead from your home water supply.
Yes, water filters do remove lead, but only if you are using the right type.
Simply put, some water filters remove lead, while others don’t.
If you want a water filter that can remove lead from your water, here are your options:
Activated carbon filters are water filters that use activated carbon as a medium to block the passage of water contaminants.
Activated carbon works by “adsorbing” contaminants. That means it attracts lead, for example, on its surface and traps it in while clean, lead-free water passes through.
Reverse osmosis systems are those that use a semipermeable RO membrane to separate contaminants from water. They work by pushing water through the membrane under relatively high pressure.
The membrane blocks the passage of contaminants and allows only clean water to flow through. RO systems effectively remove a wide range of contaminants, including lead.
Kinetic Degradation Fluxion (KDF) filters are water filters that use copper-zinc granules to cause an oxidation/reduction process that removes water contaminants.
When water passes through a KDF filter, the filter media exchanges electrons with present contaminants (like lead) so that the latter change their form. Chlorine is transformed to harmless chloride; soluble lead is made insoluble and then trapped.
KDF filters can be used as stand-alone systems or combined with other water filters.
Water distillers are systems that purify water by vaporizing and then condensing it. Here’s how they work for removing lead:
Since not all water filters can remove lead, you must ensure that you pick the right one when shopping. Here’s what can help.
Standard 53 is the NSF’s certification that a water filter can remove health-related contaminants like lead. It is the most important thing to look out for when buying a water filter for lead removal; the filter must have an NSF standard 53 certification (or at least testing).
However, an NSF 53 seal is not all you need to check for. That’s because the standard covers all kinds of health-related impurities like chromium 6 – so not just lead. As such, you must confirm that a filter has been tested for lead reduction specifically.
If you’re buying a filter that works for your entire home, it should ideally have been tested/certified against NSF standard 53 for lead removal.
Unfortunately, however, NSF-certified whole house water filters are very rare.
In fact, the only system with an NSF 53 certification for lead reduction is the PIONEER by ENPRESS.
Good news is, the PIONEER is super powerful with the ability to remove 99.62% lead from water (learn more here)!
For point-of-use water filters, many brands in the market are NSF approved.
An example is our Epic Pure Water Filter Pitcher (more info).
It is confirmed to remove 99.4% lead from water and, aside from standard 53, has been tested against 3 other NSF standards.
For under sink filters, there’s our Epic Smart Shield (more info), which removes 99.3% of lead and sells for a more budget-friendly price compared to most of its competitors.
As for a countertop water filter to remove lead, there’s the Berkey (99.9% lead reduction, learn more here) and the AquaTru (more below).
Shower filters are not certified to remove lead, or at least we’ve not seen any with an NSF certification.
The Aquasana AQ-4100 shower filter uses granular activated carbon and KDF-55 and claims to remove lead, but there’s no NSF certification for it. Also, the brand does not specify how much lead their filter removes. Still, this Aquasana filter is one of your closest shots at removing lead from your shower water (read more).
RO systems require an NSF standard 58 certification for lead removal.
The AquaTru has this and 4 other NSF certifications.
It reduces 99.1% of lead in water and is very easy to use (more info).
For your lead filter to work well, you have to install it properly. Otherwise, some water may escape the filter and flow out and into your glass while still containing lead.
You may also experience water leakage because of bad installation. If you have little or no plumbing skills, you should call a professional to install your lead water filter for you.
Even if you use an NSF-certified water filter, you may still get lead in your water if you do not maintain the filter properly.
Filters do not last a lifetime; you have to replace them. If you keep using a filter that’s old and due for replacement, it becomes clogged, and your water flow rate will reduce. It also becomes easier for unfiltered water to pass through the system.
Your water usage will determine how often you need to replace your lead filter, but usually, cartridges need to be replaced every couple of months.
To confirm if your home water contains lead, you can:
There’s no safe level of lead in water. So if you find out that your water contains lead, even in minute quantities, you should get a lead water filter immediately.
Lead leaches into drinking water when lead pipes, taps, and other plumbing parts corrode. When corrosion occurs, the lead metal in these plumbing materials dissolves into the water they transport.
Lead accumulates in the body, and over time, it can cause serious health effects. For kids, it can harm the brain and nervous system, slow growth, and alter their hearing and speaking ability. Adults can experience heart problems, high blood pressure, kidney issues, and even reproductive issues from exposure to lead in water.
If you have any thoughts about the question, does a water filter remove lead, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!