Does A Water Softener Remove Lead?

When it comes to water safety, many people are concerned about the presence of lead.

While you can take steps to reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water, some people may wonder, “does a water softener remove lead” from the water.

In this post, we will explore whether or not water softeners reduce lead levels and provide some tips on how to decrease your exposure to lead.

How does a water softener work?

A water softener replaces the calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions, responsible for the water hardness minerals.

Sodium does not produce the same scale buildup that calcium and magnesium do.

Does a water softener remove lead? If lead contamination is present in your city water supply, the water softening will not remove it.

You need an extra water filtration system to remove the lead from softened water.

Suppose your clean water has a lead presence. In that case, it is most important to know detailed information, its harmful effect, and the permanent solution, which we will discuss next.

How does lead get into our water supplies?

Lead is a neurotoxin that has no beneficial role in the body and can be absorbed through all routes, including inhalation and ingestion.

When lead is present in water, it has usually leached into the water supplies from corroded lead-based plumbing.

The old plumbing in homes and buildings, such as the plumbing found in some schools and many homes built before 1986, can contain large amounts of lead.

Lead poisoning affects multiple body systems, but the cardiovascular system is one of the top targets.

Why lead is a health concern?

Lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body.

It is especially harmful to infants, young children, and pregnant women.

Lead can cause problems during pregnancy that may result in miscarriage or stillbirth.

In young children, lead can damage the brain and nervous system, slow growth and development, cause hearing problems, and affect intelligence.

Lead exposure in adults can damage the nervous system, reproductive system, kidneys, and cardiovascular system.

It can also cause high blood pressure, memory problems, muscle and joint pain, decreased fertility, and problems with the immune system.

What is lead in water symptoms?

One of the most troubling aspects of lead poisoning is usually no apparent symptoms.

Since damage usually occurs slowly over a long period, lead poisoning can quickly go unnoticed without regular monitoring.

Symptoms of extreme exposure include:

  • Irritability and behavioral changes
  • Nausea and vomiting, Abdominal pain, Fatigue, and lethargy
  • Decreased appetite, Slowed speech, hearing, and physical development in children
  • Muscle pain or cramps, Headaches, Confusion or disorientation
  • Memory loss, Abnormal heart rhythm

Immediate symptoms of poisoning are rare but can include:

  • Pain or a prickling sensation in the hands and feet
  • Tingling of the extremities
  • Paralysis, Muscle spasms, Convulsions
  • Insomnia, nervousness, restlessness
  • Emotional disturbances

How to test for lead in water?

Using a Certified Lab

If your home or building is on municipal softened water, then you can call your city or town to find out if they test for lead contamination.

Your local health department can also tell you what to do.

If your home or building is on a well, then testing for lead isn’t as clear.

Your local health department can provide advice and help find a good laboratory and who you should contact for your water quality test.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a website that provides information on lead poisoning testing, prevention, management, and regulations.

The EPA also provides test kits, instructions, and other resources for testing your filtered water.

DIY Water Testing Kits

You can buy a do-it-yourself water test kit. Still, EPA and other research studies have shown that these test kits are not always accurate and can give a false sense of security.

When buying a home testing kit, make sure the equipment tests for lead.

Some test kits are for other hard water contaminants but have “lead” on the label.

Other better options to remove lead from your drinking water

Reverse Osmosis

The EPA recommends using a water filtration system or other methods that reduce the lead content of your water.

Reverse osmosis is a method for removing various contaminants from city water through a membrane.

RO can use different types of membranes and pre-water treatment systems depending on the contaminants in the hard water.

You should also know that reverse osmosis water softening can reduce water pressure and don’t remove organic chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides.


Where softener cannot remove lead from water, a distillation method effectively reduces lead.

It essentially boils the water and then collects the vapor that condenses back to water so get only pure, distilled water.

However, this process uses a lot of energy and will leave most water hardness minerals behind in the boiling chamber.

Activated carbon

Another way for lead from water is through activated carbon.

This charcoal-like material is processed at high temperatures to increase the ability of the carbon to attract and hold contaminants.

Carbon water filtration uses a fine powder made from coal, wood, coconut husks, or other sources.

The carbon filter cartridge can reduce lead, chlorine taste, and odor and remove other heavy metals such as arsenic.


KDF water treatment systems are copper-zinc granules treated with an oxidation-reduction chemical process.

The KDF process uses a series of tiny particles that attract and hold dissolved contaminants, such as lead and other heavy metals.

The filters also remove chlorine taste and odor, as well as sediment.

Cation exchange resin

Cation exchange resin is another water filter that uses resins or beads to trap lead.

The contaminants become trapped in the pores of the resin beads and are released when the resin is recharged.

A common way to recharge a cation exchange water filter is with a salt solution.

What is the safe level of lead in water ppm?

The EPA has set the standard for lead in drinking water supply at 15 parts per billion (ppb).

This is the maximum amount of lead contamination allowed in the water delivered to consumers.

Contact your local health department if you are concerned that your drinking water has high lead levels.

Can lead be absorbed through the skin from water?

Yes, lead can be absorbed through the skin.

When you bathe in water that contains lead and have cuts or sores on your skin, it is possible to get lead in your body this way.

Lead is even more dangerous if it enters the body through cuts or sores because lead can get into your blood fast.

This increases the chance of getting lead poisoning.

The water might not look or smell different, but it can still have lead.

How do reduce the chances of lead exposure?

If a home or building has a lead service line or lead pipes, the clean faucet water may be contaminated.

It is possible to remove lead from water with a water softening filter at the tap.

However, even filtered water can become contaminated if the plumbing in your home contains lead pipes.

Contact your local health department

if you are concerned that your drinking water supply has high lead levels.

Does boiling water remove lead?

Like a softener, boiling water does not remove lead from hard water. In fact, boiling the water can increase the amount of lead.

Boiling water for a long time is not recommended, and bottled water is the safest option.

However, the lead will not be released from the container. If you are concerned, try using a carbon water filter cartridge.

Filtering your water is the best way to protect yourself from lead exposure.

Can lead in water cause cancer?

Studies have found that people who drink water containing lead over the EPA standard (15 ppb) may be at risk for cancer over many years.

Exposure to lead is hazardous for young children and pregnant women because it can cause brain damage.

If you are concerned about the safety of your drinking water, contact your local health department.

No one knows just how many public soft water systems exceed this level.

Is bottled water free from lead?

No, bottled water is not free from lead.

In fact, a 2011 study found that some bottled water brands contain as much lead as tap water.

In fact, the EPA doesn’t even regulate the quality of bottled water as they do with tap water.

Chlorine is also common in your water but does A Water Softener Remove Chlorine.

DISCLAIMER: This article was shared for informational purposes only. I am not promoting any product, nor do I intend to make this a product endorsement. I am not liable for any of your losses or damages from using this information.

How to get lead out of the body naturally?

You might need medical treatment if exposed to high lead levels through soft water or other sources.

However, if you aren’t sure, you can try the following methods to help your body naturally get rid of lead:

  • Eliminate high-fat foods from your diet. Lead is stored in fat, so limiting the amount of fat you consume can help you get rid of it.
  • Eat foods high in iron. This will help your body bind with lead and eliminate it from your system.
  • Drink plenty of water to help the lead pass through your system. Drinking water will also dilute the lead in your body.
  • Cut back on salt. Lead is attracted to sodium ions, so you need to limit the amount of sodium in your diet.
  • Take antioxidants. These can help to reduce lead in your system. Some examples are vitamin C, vitamin E, and coenzyme.


A water softener does not remove lead from your drinking water.

However, there are other filters you can use to reduce the amount of lead in your drinking water.

Contact your local health department if you think the lead levels are high.

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