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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

From forest to faucet, we deliver the best drinking water in the world.

Customer Service: 503-823-7770


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How You Can Reduce Exposure to Lead

These easy steps can help you avoid possible exposure to lead from household plumbing.

Run your water to flush out lead.                                                                                         

If the water has not been used for several hours, run each tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes or until it becomes colder before drinking or cooking. This flushes water which may contain lead from the pipes. This can reduce lead in water levels up to 90%. 

Use cold, fresh water for cooking and preparing baby formula.

Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap; lead dissolves more easily into hot water. Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula.

Do not boil water to remove lead.                                                                            

water testingBoiling water will not reduce lead.

Test your water for lead. 

To order a FREE lead-in-water test, call the LeadLine at 503-988-4000 or order one online.

Test your child for lead.   

Ask your physician or call the LeadLine to find out how to have your child tested for lead. A blood lead level test is the only way to know if your child is being exposed to lead. 

Consider using a filter.                                                                                        
Check whether it reduces lead - not all filters do. Be sure to maintain and replace a filter device in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions to protect water quality. Contact NSF International at 1-800-NSF-8010 or on their website for information on performance standards for water filters. Learn more about how to choose a water filter on the Water Bureau's Home Water Filtration and Treatment page.

Regularly clean your faucet aerator.                                                 

Particles containing lead from solder or household plumbing can become trapped in your faucet aerator. Regularly cleaning every few months will remove these particles and reduce your exposure to lead.

Consider buying low-lead fixtures.                                                                                       

 As of 2014 all pipes, fittings and fixtures are required to contain less than 0.25% lead. When buying new fixtures, consumers should seek out those with the lowest lead content. If you are wondering about how to pick lead-free products for your home, the EPA has information about various certifications