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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
PUBLIC GOVERNMENT BUSINESS A to Z LIST

Lead in Drinking Water

Though lead is a naturally occurring element and can be found in small amounts in the earth, it is primarily found in soil, water, air, and inside the home as a result of human activities such as the past use of leaded gasoline and lead-based paint.

Lead can be poisonous to humans and animals, causing health problems from high blood pressure to nervous system disorders. Children under the age of six, including unborn babies and infants, are the most at risk because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults’ bodies and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to its damaging effects. Studies continue to demonstrate that even low blood lead levels negatively impact cognitive abilities, speech and language development, hearing, visual-spatial skills, attention, emotional regulation, and motor skills. Past uses of lead have contributed significant amounts of lead to our environment that cause over 1,000 New Hampshire children to be poisoned every year.

Lead rarely occurs naturally in New Hampshire’s drinking water sources, namely groundwater and surface water. Lead more commonly occurs in drinking water due to the wearing away of piping, older plumbing fixtures, or the solder that connects pipes. Tap water is generally thought to be a smaller source of lead exposure, but this can vary among homes, schools, and other buildings, and can add to other sources.

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  • Joan Fitzsimmons
    NHDES Drinking Water & Groundwater Bureau
    29 Hazen Drive; PO Box 95
    Concord, NH 03302-0095
    (603) 271-2516
    (603) 271- 3490 (fax)
    joan.fitzsimmons@des.nh.gov
  • Cynthia Klevens
    NHDES Drinking Water & Groundwater Bureau
    29 Hazen Drive, PO Box 95
    Concord, NH 03302-0095
    (603) 271-3108
    cynthia.klevens@des.nh.gov

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NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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