Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Lead?

When it comes to the water’s quality, taste, and hardness, you may immediately think of issues that could arise. But, it’s crucial to think about the security of your tap water supply at home.

If you’re aware of the high levels of lead or not, you’ve likely heard about Reverse Osmosis.

The technology behind a reverse osmosis system is a straightforward yet innovative method of improving water quality.

The process begins with water moving from concentrated to less concentrated through a partially permeable RO membrane. It will ensure the elimination of typical chemicals like lead.

Therefore, to answer the question “Does reverse osmosis remove lead?” yes. Reverse osmosis systems reduce lead levels in water in a remarkable way and improve water quality and healthy minerals.

Next, we will explore this topic in greater depth, so be with us.

What Is Lead?

Lead is a widespread naturally occurring metal in the natural world. 

It is rarely found in natural water sources like lakes and rivers and maybe pumped out by a water treatment plant. 

You can find lead in drinking water because of the wear or corrosion of water distribution systems, as well as household plumbing systems that contain lead. 

Although there are concerns about drinking water and lead in the water supply, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry declares that ” children can be exposed to lead through their hands in contact with the soil containing lead or dust in the mouths of children.”

Based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Children are exposed to lead in dust, air, paint soil, in food and drinking water.” 

EPA reports that “drinking water could comprise more than 20% exposure to lead. Infants who eat a majority of mixed formula may receive 40% to 60% of the lead exposure they receive from water.”

How Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Lead?    

Reverse osmosis filtration divides two liquids by the membrane. On one side is reversed osmosis you’ll find contaminated water that is cleansed when moved onto the opposite side.

It is possible to imagine the concept of a filter for coffee. If you prepare coffee using filters, only the liquid coffee can pass through. 

Since whole house reverse osmosis can remove lead and other contaminants from the water in such a way, it’s becoming a well-known method of water filtration.

Beyond the lead, a reverse osmosis filter can also eliminate:

  • Fluoride
  • Arsenic
  • Mercury
  • Iron

The RO system typically has the pore size in the range of 0.0001 microns. It means that it’s very effective in eliminating the bacteria and viruses in the water you drink.

The majority of reverse osmosis systems in homes include a post and pre RO water filter.

  •  The pre-filter- It stops any sediment that might be present in water from getting through the membrane. 
  • The post-filter– Reverse osmosis water filter captures particles that are difficult to trap, such as chlorine.  

Be aware that a reverse-osmosis system, while effective in making alkaline water, may lose a tiny amount of water every time the contaminants are separated and eliminated. 

The RO water filter can effectively provide clean water while maintaining healthy minerals in your water.

The process of “flushing out” assures the absence of hazardous contaminants like lead from the purified water after the process.

Lead’s Impact on Our Body  

Lead is one of the heavy metals in the earth’s crust that can be dangerous to a healthy human body, no matter the amount of food consumed. The event of prolonged exposure to lead could result in lead poisoning that could end your life.

Exposure to lead can cause numerous adverse effects that can affect your health. Examples:


Children who are six years old or older are more susceptible to the adverse effects of lead. Even the smallest amount of lead present in the blood of children could cause:

  • Problems with learning and behavior
  • Hyperactivity and lower IQ
  • Slow growth
  • Hearing difficulties
  • Anemia

In rare instances, lead ingestion can cause seizures, comas, and eventually death.

Pregnant Women

Lead may build up throughout our bodies and then be stored in bones alongside calcium. 

When pregnant, the lead gets taken out of bones as mother calcium, and it is utilized to form bones for the embryo.

That is especially true when the woman is not getting enough calcium from her diet. Lead may also pass through the placental barrier and expose the fetus to lead.

It could cause severe consequences for the mother as well as the developing fetus. These include:

  • Reduce fetus’s growth 
  • It can affect a child’s nervous system and overall development.
  • Premature birth
  • Stillbirths
  • Miscarriages
  • Infertility


Lead poisoning can be detrimental to adults. Lead-intoxicated adults can be affected by:

  • The effects of cardiovascular diseases, such as increased blood pressure, and prevalence of hypertension
  • A decrease in kidney function
  • Reproductive issues

Because of these reasons, many of the latest pipes are copper made to try to disease control and prevention. It does not mean the clean water we drink is lead-free. 

There are a lot of older lead pipes that are providing polluted water to our homes. That is the reason you should install a whole house Reverse Osmosis to remove lead from your drinking water.

How Can You Eliminate The Exposure To Lead From Tap Water?

If you’re concerned about lead in your water or suspect that your plumbing has lead contamination, you should make changes to minimize the lead level in your water supply and reduce your risk of being exposed.

  • It is possible to drink only water through a “point-of-use” filter, which is certified externally through an independent agency to minimize or eliminate levels of lead (NSF/ANSI standard 53 to ensure lead removal, and Standard 42 of the NSF/ANSI for the removal of particulate matter).
  • That is possible to clean your water to limit the chance of exposure to lead from plumbing fixtures in your home. If your water is shut turned off and sitting in lead pipes for more than six hours, it is essential. Before drinking the water, make sure to flush your pipes by using the tap while showering, washing clothes, doing laundry, or dishes.  
  • Consume or cook only with water that is coming out from the cold faucet. Water that is coming from the tap, hot or warm, may contain more lead levels. Boiling water does not decrease any amount of lead that is present in the water.
  • You can reduce your exposure to lead-based water by drinking only water from bottled water that has been tested by an independently-tested company. It may not be the most cost-effective option for long-term use.

What Does Reverse Osmosis Filter Remove With Lead?  

A Reverse Osmosis water system can remove most water contaminants, including lead, chlorine, sodium, copper, metal ions, aqueous salt, and chromium. 

Furthermore, it also treats hard water, decreases fluoride, radium, sulfate, calcium, and potassium, and nitrate in the water.

The RO membrane is partially permeable and removes pollutants by their molecular weight and charges.

In simple terms, the simplest way is if a substance’s molecular weight exceeds 200 g/mol and the reverse osmosis system will stop its flow. 

As a reference, the molecular mass of water is 18 g/mol. Also, if the contaminant has a significant negative or positive charge, the system will eliminate it.

The efficiency and effectiveness make RO the best option for apartments to provide the finest quality bottled water.

Other Best Options except Reverse Osmosis to Remove Lead

Reverse Osmosis treatment is the most widely employed and least expensive method to remove lead from water

There are, however, other methods that can yield the same results without distillation. 

Water filters can also perform a fantastic job of getting rid of nearly 90% of lead from water. These filters include:

Water Filter Pitchers

Regular pitchers for filtering have a straightforward design that is convenient, portable, easy to use, and transport. 

It utilizes Ion Exchange resin activated carbon, made from coconut and essential to eliminating lead from the water supply. 

This filter needs a WQA certificate that proves it has been thoroughly tested and eliminates 99 percent of lead.

Zero Water Pitcher for lead reduction

Faucet Mount Unit Filter  

There are a lot of faucet-mounted water filtration units that you can purchase on the market. 

These activated carbon filters are based on processing and are pretty individual.

They don’t require power and rely only on the pressure from the main supply of the faucet. 

Brita faucet filter

The water filtration system can lower the levels of lead and eliminate bacteria, mercury, chlorine, and other harmful substances.

Water Softener

A whole-house water softener that is installed at the point where your main water line connects to your home. 

It is able to reduce the presence of contaminants like sulfur, iron, chlorine, and other impurities in your hard water. 

The water softeners can provide better pure water to every faucet inside your home. 

Water softener can remove lead

This means that you can get filtered water throughout your house while you wash your dishes, prepare coffee, shower, clean your laundry, and clean your teeth.

Showerhead Filters

They use special media that removes the majority of lead from water sources. 

This water filtration system is helpful because lead could be very harmful to your hair. 

Additionally, lead could be absorbed into your skull and create permanent neurological damage into adulthood.

Shower Filter

How Do You Get Lead Into The Drinking Water?

Do local governments not test municipal water sources, treat the water for consumption by the public, and strive to ensure that water is safe for drinking?

Yes, they can. But it’s not enough to avoid the contamination of lead. There are times when contaminants get into the water after the cleaning process. 

If you could have the purest filtered water available, it was dirty and contaminated when you put it in a bucket with a lot of mud. Similar happens to drink water sources.

When water is transported from water treatment facilities and individual wells travel through pipes. 

Nowadays, the norm is for copper-made pipe or PVC; however, it was not always the case, but copper pipes are fitted to lead solder. 

When these pipes begin to corrode in time, water can absorb lead during transportation to workplaces, homes, schools, etc. 

Lead connectors and pipes have been replaced over time; however, certain ones remain.

How Do You Know If Lead Is In Your Home Water?    

Different water contaminants could be hazardous because they are neither visible nor tasted, nor smelled. 

There may be a new or old property with new plumbing, which will protect you from lead contamination. 

The communities with municipal water must check their water for contamination and then release the results to the general public. 

It is a good starting point. You can tell whether the water you drink is safe, but it is necessary to check the water from your tap.


Does reverse osmosis remove salt from seawater?  

Semipermeable membranes allow the water that feeds it to flow through it in a larger volume than dissolve salts. 

Reverse Osmosis Systems operate by applying pressure to freshwater flows through its membranes, removing the saline concentrated within the water feed, contaminants, and minerals. 

Seawater RO systems use multiple membranes to increase the amount of purified water pumped out every day.

Does reverse osmosis remove chlorine?  

Yes! Reverse osmosis filtration eliminates chlorine by sending it through several stages of filtering. 

The most common filters used in an RO system are pre-filters, activated carbon filters, reverse-osmosis membranes, and post-filter.

If you’ve conducted any research on the subject of chlorine removal, it is clear and accurate that an activated carbon filter is very effective in eliminating chlorine.

However, reverse osmosis is more effective after the large portion of chlorine is eliminated during the activated carbon filter stage.

After that, the water pumps across the semipermeable membrane, which has tiny pores in which chlorinated molecules can’t be big to fit.

Does reverse osmosis remove bacterial contaminants and viruses?

A membrane filter has pores that measure around 0.0001 microns. To illustrate, bacteria like E. coli and salmonella are between 0.2 up to 4 microns in size; this means that they are far too large to pass into the pores.

According to a study published by CDC, reverse Osmosis systems show an effective performance in:

  • Removing viruses (e.g., Norovirus, Rotavirus, Enteric, Hepatitis A).
  • The removal of bacteria (e.g., Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter,  E. coli)
  • Removal of protozoa (e.g., Giard, Cryptosporidium),

As we ask above: Does reverse osmosis remove viruses and bacteria? Yes, it is practical and highly effective and helps water contamination disease control.

What does reverse osmosis not remove from water?    

Since there are a few pollutants that are smaller in molecular size than water, POU filters aren’t always the solution that people believe is in the quest to provide water that’s clean of contaminants. 

Some of the most common contaminants that could pass through the RO filter include:

  • Pesticides
  • Herbicides
  • Other agricultural products such as fungicides 
  • Dissolved gasses, like hydrogen sulfide  
  • Certain organic compounds
  • Chlorine- RO can remove different amounts of chlorine. However, there’s a chance that the typical home RO filter might not absorb all the chlorine present in water, although this is mainly contingent on the concentration of the chemical present in water sources.

Does reverse osmosis remove fluoride?  

Reverse Osmosis can remove many common impurities from water like lead, magnesium, calcium, pesticides, and solid particles.

The RO water units are designed to provide enough fluoride-free drinking water for the entire family. They suggest advice with a trusted water treatment company to determine and install the best water system.


The presence of a filtering system is an essential component of every household. 

Impurities in water, such as lead, are known to have severe and, in some instances, deadly effects on our bodies.

That’s why we should always secure ourselves and our family members from these harmful substances. 

So, install a complete Reverse Osmosis to remove lead and other contaminants to enjoy pure water.

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