To determine of the Service Line connected to your house is made of lead, you can perform a simple scratch test.
Find the water meter, and if the inlet pipe is NOT plastic, use a quarter (or another piece of metal) to scratch the pipe gently, being careful not to pierce the pipe.
If the pipe scratches easily, and the color revealed is a nickel or silver, the pipe MAY be made of lead.
Next, use a magnet to determine if the pipe is iron or steel. If the magnet sticks, it's not lead. If the magnet does not stick and the scratch revealed a nickel or silver color, the pipe COULD BE made of lead.
If you suspect lead ...
You can purchase a lead test kit from the hardware store. Look for an EPA-recognized kit. Or you can call a licensed and insured plumber to inspect your pipes and plumbing for lead.
For your convenience, we have compiled the following list of the best resources on lead in water.
- National Lead Information Center
- NSF International
- World Health Organization: Chemical hazards in drinking-water: Lead
- Basic Information about Lead in Drinking Water
- Water Research Center - Special Report #3: Lead In Drinking Water - Is There Lead In My Drinking Water ?
- CDC - Sources of Lead
- CDC - CDC Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program