Lead Exposure Reduction

Lead and Drinking Water: The Basics

Lead is not usually found in drinking water at its source (e.g., surface water, groundwater, reservoirs). The potential for exposure to lead through drinking water is due to the corrosion of lead-containing plumbing and fixtures that can leach lead into drinking water over time. Materials affected by corrosion can include lead service lines, internal home plumbing, and fixtures such as old faucets. Multiple factors can affect whether and to what extent lead leaches into drinking water, including the lead content of pipes, fixtures, and solder, along with water temperature, pH, and hardness, as well as the application of corrosion control technology by the water system.  

Lead and Drinking Water: Health Effects

Lead presents health concerns for people of all ages, but particularly pregnant people, infants, and young children. If consumers live in homes, or communities where lead is in contact with drinking water, they may be at risk of exposure.

Infants and Children

  • Behavior and learning problems
  • Lower IQ and Hyperactivity
  • Slowed growth and development
  • Hearing Problems
  • Anemia

Developing Fetuses and Pregnancy

  • Cause low birthweight and premature birth
  • Harm fetal brain, kidney, and nervous system development
  • Increase the likelihood of learning or behavioral problems; and
  • Increase the risk of miscarriage

Other Adults

  • Cardiovascular effects, increased blood pressure and incidence of hypertension;
  • Decreased kidney function; and
  • Reproductive problems


Questions about your service line or your town’s service lines?

Please reach out to your water supplier.
If you are uncertain who your water supplier is, you can look it up on NJ Drinking Water Watch.

For other questions:

LeadInDW@dep.nj.gov or 609-292-5550