The Environmental Protection Department and Health Department are advising New Yorkers to run their tap water faucet for 30 seconds before drinking until the water becomes noticeably colder.
The city found out in recent tests that in most New York houses and residential buildings, tap water is fine for direct drinking as it comes from reservoirs and is delivered through a safe distribution system.
However in a number of old buildings, internal plumbing systems can elevate lead levels.
Running tap water until it is cold is the simplest way to reduce the potential of exposure to water that has been stored in lead service lines or pipes containing lead. The city also advises using cold water for cooking as water heaters may contribute lead to the faucet.
“The elevations seen in the city's recent tests have been too small to pose clear health threats—lead-based paint is the primary source of exposure in New York City, and we will continue to focus on it,” said Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway.