Lead Free Law

OVERVIEW

The wetted surface of every pipe, fixture, and fitting sold for, or installed in, potable water applications as of January 4, 2014, can not contain more than 0.25% lead by weight as mandated by Federal Law.

ALSO NOTABLE

  1. The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 (amended by the Lead Contamination Control Act of 1988) was modified to re-define “Lead Free” regarding pipes, pipe fittings, and fixtures.
  2. A formula was established for calculating weighted average lead content.
  3. Exempts use or sale of lead pipes, solder, and flux in pipes or plumbing fittings or fixtures used for non-potable services exclusively.
  4. The “Lead Free Law results in higher cost for the” lead free” product
  5. The re-definition of “Lead Free” to mean:
    1. Not containing more than 0.2% lead in solder and flux.
    2. Not containing more than a weighted average of 0.25% lead in wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe and plumbing fittings and fixtures.

LEGALITIES

  1. States are responsible for enforcement through state or local plumbing codes and other appropriate means.
  2. It is illegal to introduce into commerce or install any potable water product that does not comply.
  3. Non- compliance may result in fines, installed product removal costs, lawsuits by private parties or government agency.

PRODUCT AVAILABILITY

  1. We at American Backflow Specialties continue to inventory lead free and leaded product for both potable and non-potable industries and applications. Contact us for availability
  2. Due to manufacturer changes, product availability is changing daily. Many leaded products are currently, or will eventually be, discontinued and new lead free products will be introduced with new or different part numbers. Many valves and parts will be phased out and completely discontinued with a lead free alternative. During this transition some items may be back ordered or have limited quantity available. You will be contacted immediately if an item ordered is no longer in stock.

IN SUMMARY

  1. The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act was enacted on January 4, 2011 to amend Section 1417 of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA or Act) respecting the use and introduction into commerce of lead pipes, plumbing fittings or fixtures, solder and flux. The Act established a prospective effective date of January 4, 2014, which provided a three year time frame for affected parties to transition to the new requirements. In anticipation of these changes taking effect, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is providing summary requirements of the lead ban provisions in Section 1417 and some answers to Frequently Asked Question (FAQs) related to the amendments to assist manufacturers, retailers, plumbers and consumers in understanding the changes to the law.
  2. This document along with the revised answers to frequently asked questions, is intended to help the public understand the statutory requirements. The EPA also intends to clarify and refine these and other issues related to these provisions in future rule making. The following and separated FAQs include some recommendations that are advisory only (indicated by the use of the words such as “should” or encourages”.
  3. The EPA remains interested in feedback on the FAQs, for refinement of the answers, to respond to new questions, or to determine which issues should be explored in its rule making. As a result, the EPA may revise or supplement these FAQs from time to time.
  4. Since 1986, the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA or Act) has prohibited the use of certain items that are not lead free and since 1996 the Act has made it unlawful for anyone to introduce into commerce items that are not lead free.
  5. Section 1417(a)(1) prohibits the use of any pipe, any pipe or plumbing fitting or fixture, any solder, or any flux, after June 1986, in the installation or repair of (i) any public water system; or (ii) any plumbing in a residential or non-residential facility providing water for human consumption, that is not “lead free” a defined in Section 1417(d). Prior to the 2011 Amendments, the only exception to the prohibition was to “leaded joints necessary for the repair of cast iron pipes.”
  6. The amendments will become effective on January 4, 2014.
  7. It is important to note that State and local jurisdictions may have additional limitations or requirements regarding the use or sale and distribution of pipes, pipe or plumbing fittings, or fixtures that contain lead. Contact your local or State plumbing or drinking water authority to find out more about any additional requirements that may apply.
  8. Many State plumbing codes require the use of products that are in compliance with NSF/ANSI standards 61 and 372. NSF/ANSI Standard 372 is a certification process by which independent laboratories verify that the plumbing product is in compliance with the requirements of the 2011 Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act. Products will bear the mark of the laboratory that has independently certified that the product meets the standard. EPA published a brochure to assist the public with identifying the various marks that indicate a product has been certified as lead free to the new requirement of the Act: “How to Identify Lead-Free Certification Marks for Drinking Water System & Plumbing Materials.” You can access the document at http://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPDF.cgi?Dockey=P100GRDZ.txt

Alternatively, a consumer could directly contact the manufacturer of the product to confirm that the model you wish to purchase meets the lead free requirements.

Lead Free FAQs