Can Water Filters Remove Lead From Water?

Lead is a heavy metal that leaches into drinking water through corroded pipes and fixtures in homes, making it one of the most prevalent contaminants in tap water.

Lead contamination is an urgent problem that must be addressed. It can affect people of all ages and has been linked to health problems such as cognitive deficits and memory loss.

Short Answer

Yes, water filters can remove lead from water. Lead in drinking water can harm infants and children. Water filtration methods can remove lead. Reverse osmosis, water distillation, and lead-specific NSF 53-certified filters are the best lead removal methods.

Reverse osmosis removes lead, chlorine, fluoride, and arsenic from water. Distilling water removes lead too. Distillation involves boiling water and collecting the steam, which is cooled and purified.

Lead-removing NSF 53 filters are also effective. These NSF-certified filters remove lead and other contaminants. NSF 53-certified carbon and ion exchange filters effectively remove lead from water.

Boiling water doesn’t remove lead. Reverse osmosis and water distillation may remove lead better than portable water filters like faucet filters. To maximize efficiency, replace filter cartridges regularly.

As a water filter technician, I’ve seen how important the right filtration method is for lead removal. I often see lead particles in faucet aerators, which can contaminate drinking water. In these cases, you must clean the aerator and filter the water to remove lead. Homeowners can ensure lead-free drinking water with the right filtration method.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis removes lead and chlorine from tap water by forcing it through a semi-permeable membrane.

Removing lead and chlorine from water can reduce health risks. Reverse osmosis also removes water odors and tastes.

Selecting the right system ensures your family has clean, healthy water. Check your budget, space, and needs.

Under-sink reverse osmosis is best for most applications. Countertop models use little plumbing and dispense filtered water from the faucet. If you have a large family, you may want a larger storage tank to store more filtered water.

Carbon Filters

Carbon filters remove chlorine, lead, and other pollutants from drinking water. Carbon activated by steam or high temperatures without oxygen creates millions of pores for greater surface area and adsorption capacity in these filters.

Coconut shells and corn husks can boost the effectiveness of activated carbon from coal, wood, or peat. Steam or chemicals enhance their adsorption after preparation.

Most CTO-removing activated carbon filters (chlorine, taste, and odor). Through mechanical filtration, submicron carbon block filters can also remove coliform, cysts, lead, and iron. Material safety requires third-party testing and certification of carbon filters.

KDF Filters

KDF works well in filters. It boosts contaminant removal in activated carbon/blocks carbon filters and under-sink or faucet filters.

KDF transfers electrons between impurities to create new elements, which are harmless. These water-soluble compounds are flushed away during backwashing.

KDF removes chlorine, lead, and soluble heavy metals like iron, copper, nickel, zinc, chromium, and hydrogen sulfide.

Showerhead filters and well water treatment use KDF process media. Unfortunately, backwashing is needed to remove contaminants (at least every 9–12 months). Unfortunately, high flow rates and incoming water pressure are rare. Luckily, some manufacturers combine KDF process media with other filtration technologies to extend its lifespan and reduce maintenance.

Water Softeners

Reverse osmosis systems remove more lead than water filters. They remove chlorine, odor, and limescale but not lead or pesticides.

Water filters remove particles before they enter your home, reducing their concentration and risk. This includes chlorine, small particulates, bacteria, and microbial cysts from municipal water sources.

Ion exchange water filters are common in homes. A resin bed with cation and anion beads is used (anions).