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What is the best kit for testing my home's water for lead? Answered

Over the weekend, I learned that most lead in drinking water comes from plumbing within the house.

from Curaflo's history of piping materials:
In 1986, Congress banned the use of lead solder containing greater than 0.2% lead, and restricted the lead content of faucets, pipes and other plumbing materials to 8.0%.This so-called "lead-free" brass can still legally contain up to 8% lead, and plumbing systems installed prior to 1986 can contain high levels of lead from both plumbing components and lead solder. The presence of lead in water from the tap is indicative of serious pipe corrosion that must be corrected for health reasons.

So, I plan to test my home's water for lead content. Have you seen a comparison of the various home testing kits? Which one is the best?


A kit I tested is for use if you want to test for lead int water or in urine, a home lead test kit  to check for either has has to be accurate to ppb, not ppm.

Get a piece of tin foil, fold it into a bowl shape(or just use a bowl[white preferably]). Fill it with water. Then let the water evaporate(or boil the water till it is gone, this won't be as effective.). Then if there are shiny pieces in what is left(minerals for hard water, salt looking stuff for soft water), there is metal in your water(not healthy to be ingesting).

 haha lol drink it and if you die...

Give it to a unwanted sibling and if he dies.....
jk there are $5 water testing kits at home depot now go get one

There are sticks you can use to test any surface, plus water. They work very well. if you'd like, shoot me a message, i'll send them to you. i have no use for the ones i got.

Might be a good question for a course 5 alumnus. There must be some reactants that will enable standard acid/base titration with lead, and unless those are a big no-no for pouring down the drain, there's an instructable in it.

Lead water pipes are/were very common in the UK.

As long as the water moves through the pipes fairly regularly, the lead content is supposed to be minimal, as lead is not very soluble.

However, after time with stationary water (first thing in the morning, or after some time away), the water should be flushed through (just leave it running for a while.

If you are concerned about lead in the water supply, though, you should not rely on bought kits - many are unreliable.

Contact your water supplier, express your concerns, and ask them to test a sample for you.

 We have lead pipes at our house. Like kiteman said, if we run them for short while in the morning, we really have no worries.

I also second what he said about the kits, contact your water provider. If its worrying you in any way, then go the full way to rid those worries.


8 years ago

The Watersafe Test Kits contain everything you need to find out simply and accurately if your water contains unsafe or undesirable levels of 8 common contaminants. These easy-to-use testing kits contain a detailed and easy to understand instructions so you can begin testing your water in not time. You can do it right at your kitchen sink. They are available as all-in-one, single parameter test kits. They are accurate and results are easy to read and understand. Government’s water quality standards for the contaminants are included are also included in the package so you can compare test results with the level that government recommends as safe to drink.

I have come across this warning in the past: Unscrupulous businesses have been caught using tests or selling filtering devices that have not been found to be effective. Use only approved laboratories for testing.

And I am not sure if this is so only the Labs will get the business, or if it is true that home tests are not very accurate.

Can't recommend a particular kit. I would point out that in many areas, if you _know_ that you have lead in the paint or plumbing system you are legally obligated to disclose this when you put the house up for sale or rent it out... so some folks prefer to simply assume the risk is there, preserving their ability to say that they don't _know_ it's there. The usual recommendation is that, if you suspect you still have a lead line or lead solder in your house, you cook with and drink only cold water (which won't pick up as much), and let that water run "until it is cold", to clear out anything that was standing in the pipes. If you're really feeling paranoid, you can invest in a filter; the pitcher filters do work, though the cost of the filters adds up over time. Suggestion: Ask your town's inspectors. They're fairly likely to know what was in use when and where -- including whether any of the water mains themselves contain lead (some of the older systems still do, though most towns have been trying to replace that over time), what the base water chemistry is (and hence how likely you are to see significant corrosion), and so on -- and they may have opinions regarding which home tests and/or testing labs are trustworthy.

Our city tests twice a year for lead in home drinking water by taking 50 - 100 samples from house systems and sending that to a lab. I don't think any of the home tests are going to be accurate enough. Call your city water department and see what they recommend. If you're really worried about lead then it is worth getting a real test done not a home test that might or might not be accurate.

Consumer Reports does not recommend take-home testing for lead. Reading further, I realize that their discussion is entirely about testing for lead-based paint, not drinking water. From their (paid subscription) Web site, http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/august-2009/ask-our-experts/overview/index.htm

Some kits we've tested are effective at identifying lead in paint, including Homax LeadCheck, First Alert Premium Lead Test Kit, and Abotex Lead Inspector, which are swab-type kits, and Pro-Lab Lead Surface, a wipe kit. The kits will show a positive reaction at reasonably low levels of lead, from 300 to 600 parts per million. (Note that using the kits requires dexterity and hand strength.) If a test shows the presence of lead, contact a professional lead-risk assessor for further testing and, if needed, a remediation plan.

The only drinking-water issue I found was for drinking from garden hoses. Apparently many of them are still made with leaded brass or solder, which can leach into standing water left in the hose.