Concerned about bathing or showering in lead-contaminated water?

We have been getting lots of questions about potential dangers of bathing or showering in lead contaminated water. This is really not a significant concern. A good reference on this subject states (emphasis added):

 Dust and soil that contain lead may get on your skin, but only a small portion of the lead will pass through your skin and enter your blood if it is not washed off. You can, however, accidentally swallow lead that is on your hands when you eat, drink, smoke, or apply cosmetics (for example, lip balm). More lead can pass through skin that has been damaged (for example, by scrapes, scratches, and wounds). The only kinds of lead compounds that easily penetrate the skin are the additives in leaded gasoline, which is no longer sold to the general public. Therefore, the general public is not likely to encounter lead that can enter through the skin.
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/ToxProfiles/tp13-c1-b.pdf

 If anything, lead in water would tend to pose a lower risk than lead in dust or soil, because the lead has a strong tendency towards staying in the water.

In the last 25 years, I have only recommended that children not bathe in lead-contaminated water one time: for a case in Flint that was unusually bad where lead in water averaged over 2000 parts per billion for over 25 minutes of flushing. In the vast, vast majority of cases, there would not be a significant health concern from lead exposure due to bathing or showering in potable water.

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