If your home was built before World War II, there's a good chance it has lead pipes. Municipal water treatment removes most risks, but there are other steps you can take:
• Let the water run. Water that stands idle in pipes, such as overnight, is more likely to absorb materials from the plumbing system. Let the cold-water faucet run until the water is as cold as it will get.
• If your home has a lead service line, flush water for an additional 2 to 3 minutes to make sure you are getting fresh water from the city water main.
• If you hate to waste water, first flush the toilets, take a shower or run the dishwasher before brushing teeth or making coffee.
• Use cold water for cooking and drinking. Hot water dissolves lead more quickly. It is especially important not to use the hot water for making baby formula.
• Reverse-osmosis and distillation units can remove lead, as can some filters. Use units certified for lead removal by the National Safety Foundation International.
• Get it tested. The Minnesota Department of Health has a list of accredited testing labs at tinyurl.com/lab-search
• For more information, go to tinyurl.com/lead-facts