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Why You Shouldn't Use Hot Tap Water When Cooking

Healthy Cooking Tip: Start With Cold Water

Hot water boils faster, so to save time in the kitchen, you might be tempted to cook your pasta with hot tap water. This time-saving trick is bad for your health. The problem is lead.

Hot water is much more likely to leach the heavy metal from your plumbing pipes. Using lead to solder pipes wasn't banned until 1986, and unfortunately brass plumbing parts might contain a bit of lead as well. Plumbing parts legally considered lead-free today may contain up to eight percent lead. This means your chances of having lead-free plumbing are slim.

Why does it matter? Well, too much lead in the body can cause serious damage to the brain, kidneys, nervous system, and red blood cells (it's especially bad for pregnant women and children). So the EPA recommends that you do not use water taken from the hot tap for cooking or drinking, and especially not for making baby formula. If you need hot water, draw water from the cold tap and heat it on the stove. Anytime a faucet hasn't been used for at least six hours, "flush" all the water that has been sitting in the pipes. This could take anywhere from five seconds to two minutes. When the water stops getting colder, it is "flushed." I live in a state that is currently experiencing a drought, so I use this water for houseplants and potted plants on the deck.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
sparklestar sparklestar 7 years
I've always been told never to drink hot water from the tap and never have. I would never cook using hot water from the tap, ever. I boil my water if I want it hot in the kettle.
Renees3 Renees3 7 years
well I'm screwed! During the summer, it take like a minute of being on before the water is even remotely cool. It's just so hot here. guess i'm getting lots of leached junk.
Allytta Allytta 7 years
that was one of the things my grandma thought me since i was a little child :)
Chaoticfury Chaoticfury 7 years
I use cold water too. My grandmother always told if i wanted water to boil faster, just put a lid on it (of course she used that phrase a lot when it came it me :P
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I knew this and I always use cold water because I live in an older house. We're not sure how old the pipes are, but I'm not taking any chances with lead in the water.
runswimmerrun runswimmerrun 7 years
My mother taught me this years ago. :) Thanks, mommy!
kia kia 7 years
Great tip. It makes sense and was no where on my radar before.
genipher85 genipher85 7 years
I had no idea!
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