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Understanding the Lead-Free Act

May 28, 2013

Many people have by now likely heard of the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act, but questions abound.  While you might have heard of it, and can deduce from the name what it means, you might be wondering about the details, timeline, and implications on you or your business.

Introduced by the US government in January 2011, the act is meant to significantly reduce the amount of lead in potable water, and officially goes into effect on January 4, 2014. Simply put, it prohibits the installation and use of items with more than .25% weighted average of lead content in systems coming into contact with water for human consumption. These include pipes, pipe fittings, wetted surfaces of pipes, plumbing fittings, and fixtures.

Important to know is that products already in use are grandfathered, and therefore do not need to be replaced.  Equally important to know, however, is that there are many more items and areas that will affect people, more than the average consumer might think.  It applies to overseas manufacturers, and therefore people need to be aware of the fixtures and products coming from Asia and Eruope, and their compliance.  It also concerns public environments such as schools, libraries, parks, museums, and restaurants; meaning simply focusing on a home’s kitchen and bath fixtures is not enough.  Anything newly manufactured or installed has to comply.

The good news—beyond, of course, the good news for your health—is that most manufacturers have taken the position of strict enforcement. They will not manufacture anything with lead that is intended for domestic water applications, and/or they will offer lead-free alternatives.

While any new legislation that is so far-reaching can seem daunting, it should not be too difficult to navigate, and the long-lasting benefits will far exceed the initial inconvenience.

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