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Lead & Copper

Lead and copper in service lines and household plumbing are the primary drinking water corrosion compounds of concern. Lead is a toxic metal that can be harmful to human health even at low exposure levels. Lead is persistent and can bioaccumulate in the body over time. Young children are particularly vulnerable to lead because the physical and behavioral effects of lead occur at lower exposure levels in children than in adults. A dose of lead that would have little effect on an adult can have a significant effect on a child. People who drink water containing copper in excess of 1.3 mg/L may experience short-term nausea, while long-term exposure can affect the liver and kidneys.

Lead is rarely found in source water and usually enters drinking water through corrosion of household plumbing. Lead at the tap can come from a variety of sources, including lead service lines, lead piping inside the home, lead-based solder, and brass components. The concentrations of lead and copper in water are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead and Copper Rule.

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