Under-Sink Activated Carbon Water Filters Effectively Remove Lead from Private Well Water for over Six Months

Children who rely on private well water in the United States have been shown to be at greater risk of having elevated blood lead levels. Evidence-based solutions are needed to prevent drinking water lead exposure among private well users, but minimal data are available regarding the real-world effectiveness of available interventions like point-of-use water treatment for well water. In this study, under-sink activated carbon block water filters were tested for lead and other heavy metals removal in an eight-month longitudinal study in 17 homes relying on private wells. The device removed 98% of all influent lead for the entirety of the study, with all effluent lead levels less than 1 µg/L. Profile sampling in a subset of homes showed that the faucet fixture is a significant source of lead leaching where well water is corrosive. Flushing alone was not capable of reducing first-draw lead to levels below 1 µg/L, but the under-sink filter was found to increase the safety and effectiveness of faucet flushing. The results of this study can be used by individual well users and policymakers alike to improve decision-making around the use of under-sink point-of-use devices to prevent disproportionate lead exposures among private well users.