Water Filters Offer Option to Reduce Lead Exposure

The City of Lake Mills is in the midst of a significant program to reduce lead in drinking water with the greatest emphasis placed on replacing the lead water service lines (LSLs) leading to houses.  The city recently received a grant administered through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to provide funds to help homeowners reduce costs for replacing LSLs.  The grant will provide assistance for approximately 120 residents.  But what about the many other homes in Lake Mills with LSLs?

One option is a water filter.

Since the Flint water crisis, there has been an unprecedented demand for information on home water filters certified to reduce the levels of lead in the municipal water systems.  NSF International (formerly the National Sanitation Foundation) has created a guide that lists all NSF-certified filters for lead reduction in drinking water. This guide also explains the NSF standards and the process by which NSF International verifies a filter’s ability to reduce lead in drinking water.

NSF International is an independent, not-for-profit organization that writes standards, and tests and certifies products for the food, water and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment.  They use a consensus-based process to develop national standards which means that regulators (including the U.S. EPA), consumers, academia and industry are involved in developing standards to ensure they are protective of public health.

Several different types of water filters have been certified by NSF International for reducing lead in drinking water:

  1. Pour-through pitcher/carafe: Water drips through a filter in a water pitcher using gravity.
  2. Faucet mount: Mounts on kitchen faucet. Uses diverter to direct water through a filter.
  3. Counter-top connected to sink faucet: Connects to existing sink faucet through a hose/tubing.
  4. Plumbed-in to separate tap or to kitchen sink: Installs under a sink; filtered water is usually dispensed through a separate faucet directly to the kitchen sink.
  5. Reverse Osmosis (RO): Connects to your plumbing under the sink and uses a membrane filter to reduce lead (also can reduce minerals/Total Dissolved Solids).
  6. Refrigerator filter: Installed in your refrigerator and typically dispensed through the refrigerator door.

Look for the NSF International mark to ensure the filter or cartridge you are buying is certified by NSF International, and that lead is listed on the packaging as one of the contaminants that will be reduced. If you would like to confirm a filter or treatment system is NSF certified for reducing lead in drinking water, call NSF International’s consumer information specialist at 1.800.673.8010, send an email to info@nsf.org., or visit their website at  www.nsf.org/info/leadfiltrationguide.