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Lead in Drinking Water

Lead is one of the most dangerous drinking water contaminants. It is a cumulative toxicant, which means that it builds up in the human body over time and cannot be expelled.

Stringent guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency require water treatment facilities to test and treat their water to remove lead, however, typically lead gets into your water after the water leaves your local treatment plant or your well. That is, the source of lead in your home’s water is most likely from pipes or solder in your home’s own plumbing. The most common cause is corrosion, a reaction between the water and the lead pipes or solder. 

Testing your drinking water is the best way to understand levels of all contaminants.

All About Arsenic data trends on lead

Working with schools in Maine and New Hampshire, we have seen higher incidences of lead appearing in the results from drinking water testing. Using TUVA, a data literacy platform for students and teachers, we see the following lead incidence in water samples collected at student’s homes in Maine and New Hampshire:

Based on water sample collected in 2022

Maine CDC data trends on lead

The Maine Legislature mandated that all K-12 drinking water in schools be tested for the presence of lead. The Drinking Water program worked with schools across Maine in the 2021-2022 school year to coordinate testing. The interactive map below shows the testing results of the water samples of Maine schools from the Maine CDC website.

More resources

Maine CDC: FAQ Lead in Schools

EPA: How lead gets in your drinking water