Updated: May 17, 2022
By Virginia Cooperative Extension

Heavy Metals in Household Water

Heavy metals such as lead, copper, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury may be present in water supplies for a variety of reasons. Lead and copper most commonly leach into water supplies through corrosion of household plumbing fixtures, pipes, fittings, and solder, and cadmium contamination may occur as a result of impurities in the zinc of galvanized pipes or fittings. Water supplies that are corrosive are more likely to leach lead, copper, and possibly cadmium from pipes and fittings, if these metals are present in plumbing systems. Some factors that can indicate corrosive water include low pH, high temperature, low total dissolved solids content, and high amounts of dissolved oxygen or carbon dioxide.

Download Publication