Lead In Homes

Sources of Water and Lead Contamination

Private Wells

Private wells more than 20 years old may contain lead in the “packer” element that is used to help seal the well above the well screen. Some brands of older submersible pumps used in wells may also contain leaded-brass components. Corrosion of pipes and fixture parts can cause the lead to get into tap water.

Public Water System

Until it was banned by federal law in 1986 lead was used in the solder that connects copper pipes, in pipes used in household plumbing, and in service lines that connect houses to the public water mains in the street.

Does My Home Contain Lead?

Get Tested

  • Learn more about the quality of water in your home. Since you cannot see, taste, or smell lead dissolved in water, testing is the only sure way of telling whether there are harmful quantities of lead in your drinking water.
  • For more information about free water testing services in Providence: https://www.provwater.com/water_quality/lead-center/testkits

Get Treated

How Do I Get My Home Tested?

What You Should Know: It is unlawful to test drinking water without certification. Recently, companies, including prominent big-box retailers, have offered "free" testing in exchange for a sales pitch for expensive and often unnecessary treatment systems. Remember to have your water tested by an independent, certified laboratory before making any decision about treatment. Only a certified testing laboratory can provide an objective analysis of your drinking water.

Rhode Island Certified and Independent Labs


Lead: Fact Versus Fiction

Can lead be absorbed by your skin while showering or bathing in it?

No. You can't absorb lead through your skin by showering or bathing in it. You do need to take precautions when it comes to drinking or cooking with water.

Can you boil water to remove the effects of lead?

No. Heating or boiling your water will not remove lead. Because some of the water evaporates during the boiling process, the lead concentration of the water can actually increase slightly as the water is boiled.

Act Today: Minimize Your Exposure

  • Let the water run at least 30-60 seconds before using it
  • Use cold water for making food and baby formula (hot water releases more lead from pipes than cold water)
  • These steps can help, but it is best to get your water tested for lead so it can be identified and treated!
  • Read more about protecting your family from lead