In light of the recent lead contamination in Flint, MI (USA) - I've been wondering which, if any, media are effective for removing lead from household tap water.

I currently have a custom filter system I build myself with 3 standard 10" filter housings containing (in order)

  • Activated Alumina
  • KDF 55 / GAC
  • 0.5 micron Carbon Block

My intention at the time was to use alumina for fluoride, KDF/GAC for chlorine & chloromine, and the carbon block as a final stage for taste and any particulate that came through from the first two filters. I know these technologies can filter more than the above but my question is, are any of these capable of removing lead and either way, is there another media that would be good to consider adding in to the system for this purpose?

  • Thanks @Comintern - please add as an answer so I can upvote. Specific filters or specific suggestions about most effective media would be a plus. Commented Jan 23, 2016 at 3:11
  • Converted to answer.
    – Comintern
    Commented Jan 23, 2016 at 3:15

1 Answer 1


Lead isn't soluble in water (although some lead containing compounds are), so most filtration smaller than ~1 micron is typically quite effective at removing lead. Just look for a filter with a NSF/ANSI Standard 53 rating - it needs a 99% lead reduction to certify (link leads to a specific filter, but does list the qualifying criteria).

Other contaminants can actually be much more difficult to remove - I'd assume if any lead even made it to the carbon block, that vast majority of it would stop there.

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