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New Law Takes The Lead Out Of Plumbing Fixtures


One of several new laws in California this year mandates that certain plumbing fixtures be lead-free.

One of several new laws in California this year mandates that certain plumbing fixtures be lead-free.

The law mandates that any plumbing fixtures or parts that come in contact with the water we drink and cook with must be lead-free.

Specifically, the maximum amount of lead allowed in faucets and replacement plumbing fixtures is 0.25 percent of the total material, a dramatic drop from the previously allowed 8 percent.

The standard applies to pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings and fixtures that become wet.

Anyone who sells or installs these parts must also comply or face penalties. Jim Gitney is the chief executive of a Los Angeles company that makes plumbing products.

"We've had to look at the products that we manufacture for plumbing and early last year made the decision that we were going to convert everything over to new lead-free alloys," Gitney said.

Similar regulations are expected to be enacted in other states.

Dan Jacobson with Environment California said the new law is a good start.

"And while the argument was 'well these are the parts of the faucet that might not necessarily come in contact with the water' we think that moving away from lead on a whole set of fixture issues and just appliances within our homes is a good idea," said Jacobson. "Because it's not just how the lead interacts with the water coming out of your faucet but then also for disposal issues as well."

Government regulators have mandated removing lead from products, such as paint and gasoline, because of environmental and health concerns including brain damage in children.

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