The current owner does not know but does this province have any laws regarding health issues from drinking water from old pipe systems or that they should be replaced? In the old days pipes were lead correct?

Edit: Temporarily, does a Brita filter remove lead?

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    ...because it was built in 1940. Aug 5, 2015 at 0:33
  • @Craig Right but it could have been updated what is the easiest way to figure that out.
    – verve
    Aug 5, 2015 at 0:35
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    @Craig Hahahhahahhah.
    – verve
    Aug 5, 2015 at 0:53
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    Re: Edit: No. articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-09-14/news/… If you have immediate concerns that won't wait for a water test result, get some bottled water for drinking and cooking until you have the test results.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 5, 2015 at 1:01
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    The City of Toronto has a web page on lead pipes that offers some relevant tips: www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/…
    – Ross Ridge
    Aug 5, 2015 at 4:07

3 Answers 3


Step one - look. Lead is unlikely inside the house, but you might see a lead pipe coming in from the street, if there is one. Copper pipes soldered with tin/lead solder are pretty common. But so are threaded galvanized iron pipes.

Step two - ask the water supplier, if it's on a municipal system.

Step three - have the water tested - it won't tell you if the pipes or solder have lead, but it will tell you if you need to worry about it. Most municipal systems that have lead distribution pipes in service take care to adjust the water chemistry so the lead stays in the pipes, not in the water.

If it's on a well, the odds of lead pipes go way down, IME. But the odds of water chemistry that might release lead go up quite a bit, depending on the water source.

  • It's in Etobicoke. How do i know if it's munipical?
    – verve
    Aug 6, 2015 at 8:06
  • i.e. Toronto, so almost certainly you are. Look for a water meter? Call the Toronto water department. www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/…
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 6, 2015 at 13:21

Because it was built in 1940...

I'm sort of kidding. :-) Still, there's a fair chance there's some lead either in the house or more likely in the supply line coming into the house.

Metal shortages during WWII did lead to various substitutes. There was a lot of steel/iron pipe in use then, except that iron became very valuable in the America's for the war effort (especially in the U.S., more than in Canada I suppose).

But bear in mind that lead solder was used to fit residential copper pipes until the 1990's, so even if you have copper pipes that were installed after the 1940's, you're likely to have some lead in your plumbing.

You're just going to have to inspect the pipes, or have an inspector check them out.

And as the other answer suggests, if you're concerned, get the water tested.

  • Is there such a thing as free water testing available?
    – verve
    Aug 6, 2015 at 8:08
  • I've read about shaping some aluminum foil into a bowl, putting tap water in it, letting it evaporate and looking for metallic sparkles in the salts left behind. I don't know about that... ;-) But there seem to be fairly economical test kits available, for example this one for $12, and similar kits at home improvement/hardware stores: amazon.com/WaterSafe-Water-Test-Kit-Lead/dp/B000Q6QWZA Aug 6, 2015 at 14:52
  • Also, not trying to promote brand names (especially ones I don't know too much about), but this business of epoxy-coating the insides of water pipes is kind of interesting: curaflo.com Aug 6, 2015 at 14:57

If by "old days", you mean Roman times, yes. Lead has not been used for drinking water pipes since medieval times.

You cannot remove trace lead compounds from water with cheap water filters.

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    Lead pipe was used on a massive scale in the U.S. in the 19th century, and in Europe and other already-developed areas for a very long time before that. Lead pipe didn't start getting phased out in the U.S. until the 1920's, but the lead industry fought back hard for decades, with the LIA (Lead Industries Association), leading the charge, including lobbying federal officials and printing books extolling the virtues of lead. This is tangentially related to the effort to keep putting lead in gasoline, as well. The CDC started establishing standards in the 1960's. Etc. Aug 5, 2015 at 2:46
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    Well, this is a prize cow of an utterly incorrect answer. Not too hard to find lead service laterals still in service in many US water systems that were built as recently as 100 years ago and where it's economically impractical to replace the waterline to every single house. here's one: gbwater.org/water-quality/lead-and-our-water/…
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 5, 2015 at 2:51
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    @Ecnerwal I can probably get behind the statement that cheap water filters aren't too likely to remove trace lead compounds, though. :-) If I lived in Green Bay, I might look into installing something like a whole-house reverse osmosis unit. Aug 5, 2015 at 3:08
  • An inexpensive pressurized (faucet) filter meets lead reduction standards (and those standards assume 10 times more lead incoming than Green Bay has going on...) Whole-house RO is way over the top, but if you want to pay that much to flush the toilet...
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 5, 2015 at 3:36
  • @Ecnerwal Well, fair enough. I did say might. :-) I'd be super tempted to put an under-the-sink unit anywhere anybody is likely to be putting water in their mouth, at least. But full disclosure, I'm the type who's kind of tempted to do that anyway, not just because of lead. I think whole-house RO units have been coming down in price, though, no? ;-) Aug 5, 2015 at 3:56

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