Lead in Drinking Water

High levels of lead can be harmful to the health of young children, infants, and some adults, especially pregnant women. The symptoms of high levels of lead aren’t obvious to the average person, and they often develop over a long period of time. Prolonged high levels of lead can cause severe brain and nerve damage, slowed growth, high blood pressure, pregnancy difficulties, as well as many other maladies.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), even at low levels, lead “can affect a child’s physical development and ability to learn.” For detailed information on lead poisoning go to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website. The EPA estimates that “20 percent of human exposure to lead is attributable to lead in drinking water.”

glass of ice water

Lead rarely occurs naturally in drinking water and public water supplies are closely monitored for lead contamination. However, your water may still be contaminated with lead when it travels through pipes, plumbing, and faucets before it ends up in your glass.

Order Your Lead Test Kit

Northeast Environmental Laboratory, Inc. is a certified testing laboratory accredited by the Massachusetts DEP for lead analysis. Click on the link above to to order a lead test kit. Contact the lab at [email protected] today with any questions.

Sampling Instructions for Two-Draw Lead Test

Please read instructions carefully to ensure valid test results.

  • Collect the samples after at least six hours of not running water through the pipes. For this reason, water samples are often taken first thing in the morning before any water has been run in the house.
  • Take cold-water samples from the faucet you normally use for drinking or cooking.
  • Lead Sample Drop Off Hours: Monday-Thursday 8:00-3:30 and Friday 8:00-1:00.
  • You can request a sample kit from the lab or use new 1 liter spring water bottles. Remove the cap, pour out the spring water, and recap until ready to take the sample.
  1. Take the first sample first thing in the morning before any water has been run in the house. Do not remove the aerator or strainer from the faucet.
  2. Being careful not to get the sample bottle dirty or allow it to come in contact with the faucet, remove the bottle cap and place the first bottle under the faucet.
  3. Turn on the cold water and fill the container to the top but do not allow the bottle to overflow. Cover tightly, mark the bottle as the “First Draw”, and include the date and time.
  4. Run the water for at least two minutes to clear the pipes of standing water.
  5. Collect the second sample the same way as the first and mark the bottle as “Second Draw” and include the date and time.
  6. Ship, mail, or transport the samples to the lab as soon as possible after sample collection.

Order Your Lead Test Kit

For more information:

When Should You Test Your Drinking Water?
Massachusetts DEP: Lead in Drinking Water
U.S. EPA’s Lead in Drinking Water
U.S. EPA’s Drinking Water Contaminants and Health