Safe Drinking Water - Lead

All community and non-transient non-community water systems are required to sample for lead from consumers taps in accordance with the Lead and Copper Rule.  Compliance is based off of a calculated 90th percentile value.  This means utilities must ensure that water from the customer's tap does not exceed this level in at least 90 percent of the homes sampled. The current lead action level is 15 ppb.  The Public Health goal for lead is 0.

Lead Health Effects

Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys, and it can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body.  The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children.  Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults. Lead is stored in the bones, and it can be released later in life.  During pregnancy, the child receives lead from the mother's bones, which may affect brain development.

Sources of Lead

The primary sources of lead exposure for most children are deteriorating lead-based paint, lead-contaminated dust, and lead-contaminated residential soil.  Lead is found in some toys, some playground equipment, some children's metal jewelry, and some traditional pottery.  Exposure to lead is a significant health concern, especially for young children and infants whose growing bodies tend to absorb more lead than the average adult.  Although your home's drinking water lead levels were below the action level, if you are concerned about lead exposure, parents should ask their health care providers about testing children for high levels of lead in the blood.

Reducing Exposure to Lead

  • Run your water to flush out lead. If the water hasn't been used for several hours, run water to flush lead from interior plumbing or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature before using it for drinking or cooking.
  • Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula.
  • Do not boil water to remove lead.
  • Look for alternative sources or treatment of water (such as bottled water or water filters).
  • Re-test your water for lead periodically.
  • Identify if your plumbing fixtures contain lead.

Homeowners concerned about lead should get their home tested.  It is recommended to collect samples from a Certified Laboratory using Method 200.8.

Sampling Protocol

Sample kits are distributed by the State to the water system at the time of sampling event.  The water system will contact the individual homes/businesses identified for sampling.  After completion of sampling, all samples are analyzed by the State Laboratory located in Baton Rouge.

Office of Public Health Laboratory
1209 Leesville Ave
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Sample Invalidation Report

LCR Materials Inventory Depot


Other Programs

Child Care & School Lead Testing Program (Story Map)


Other Resources about Lead

LDH Lead ProgramLead can come from many sources.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention website on Lead

EPA website on Lead

How to identify a lead service line


Guidance for Public Water Systems

Public Education and Lead Consumer Notices

Water system are required to distribute public education if their 90th percentile value is greater than 15 ppb.  Lead consumer notices are provided to those individual who participated in the lead and copper sampling event.  The consumer notice is intended to make the customer aware of their individual result.

Routine and Reduced Monitoring Forms for Lead