Un|Leaded FAQ

1. What are the negative health effects of lead exposure?

There is no safe level of lead exposure for anyone; however, children under the age of six and women of childbearing age are most vulnerable to the effects of lead.  As children grow, lead exposure can damage their nervous system, causing learning and behavioral problems.

2. What is a "water service line?"

The "water service line" is the pipe that connects the city's water main (under the street) to your home or apartment building.  The city owns a portion of this line (from the water main to the property line/curb stop), but the property owner owns the portion of the water service line from the property line/curb stop into the building.  The water main is not made of lead; however, each building's water service line is unique and therefore may be lead.  Lead service lines are highly likely in homes built before 1962.  If you live in the City of Milwaukee, you can check to see if your address has a lead water service line by clicking HERE.

3. What type of water filter should I use if I live on a lead service line?

4. Is drinking bottle water better than using a lead filter?

No.  Many bottled water companies simply use tap water, even if they add other minerals to enhance the flavor. Additionally, the cost of purchasing bottled water is more expensive per ounce than the cost of using lead water filters at home.  Finally, bottled water usage creates more waste, which negatively harms our planet.

5. How do I know if the paint in or around my home contains lead?

Commonly used in homes built before 1978, lead paint will have an "alligator skin" appearance when it begins to chip, peel, or flake.  This is especially dangerous around doors and windows, where a breeze can blow lead dust into the home or contaminate the nearby soil. Do NOT scrape, sand, or vacuum flaking paint.  Instead, use paper towels to wipe surfaces where paint is chipping weekly, and paint over walls and doors where lead paint is present.

Facts and images from the MKE Nutrition and Lead Task Force (2019).