A new study found that running water to flush lead contamination may across increase levels
Researchers from the Louisiana State University New Orleans School of Public Health found that running water to flush out lead is not consistently effective. The study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, surveyed homeowners and tested water samples from 373 New Orleans homes on the East Bank of the Mississippi River, the city’s water source. By analyzing water of different temperatures after letting the taps run for three time increments, the researchers found that lead levels were actually higher after flushing for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
In fact, the study found that only after flushing for 5.5 to 6 minutes did the lead levels begin to decrease and even then, only for a few hours. Regular flushing for an extended amount of time is not economical or sustainable for many homes and the researchers concluded that public health messages need to change to ensure appropriate application of flushing and acknowledge its shortcomings.
“More effective interventions like certified water filters should be considered instead, particularly when replacing water service lines and plumbing is not economically possible,” Lead Researcher Adrienne Katner said.