Lead and Our Drinking Water: The Case for Federal Investment

Kids drinking water

Getting lead pipes out of the ground is critical to reducing lead in drinking water.

Where lead service lines are present, they are the largest source of lead in drinking water. One of the biggest barriers to replacing these pipes is the cost to water system customers. Robust federal investment to fully replace the nation’s remaining lead service lines is needed and appropriate.

There is no safe level of lead. Young children, infants, and fetuses are vulnerable to lead, which can impact their learning and development. Lead exposure in adults is associated with heart disease.

Federal Investment in Replacing Lead Service Lines has Multiple Benefits

  • It protects public health in as many as 10 million homes. Because we can be exposed to lead from numerous sources, reduction of lead in drinking water results in significant public health benefits.
  • It gets ALL the lead service lines out. We need to put lead service lines behind us and replace ALL of them. Experts estimate that this will cost $45 billion nationwide.
  • It promotes equity in replacement. Water systems often require customers to contribute to the cost of replacement. Low-income households that can’t pay don’t get the benefit of removing this source of lead in water. Federal investment in replacing ALL lead service lines removes this disparity and benefits all households with lead service lines.

How Lead Services Line Connect to Homes

Lead service line graphic

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