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Q. "How does lead get into drinking water right now?"
A. Primarily, trace amounts of lead get into drinking water due to aging infrastructures, such as old pipes and plumbing systems parts. The Plumbing Manufacturer's Institute (PMI) states that over the past decade, lead levels in plumbing fixture fittings have been reduced to insignificant levels due to improvements in modern manufacturing processes.
Q. "How does lead content in brass faucets affect me?"
A. Water is a solvent, probably the best known solvent on earth. As such, water will absorb metals, minerals, and chemicals that it comes in contact with over a period of time. A faucet that has brass waterways can be susceptible to this process. Water sitting in your faucet can leach the lead out of the brass and enter your water system.
Q. "What does it mean to have ANSI Certification for lead free plumbing products?"
A. Laws requiring plumbing products that come in to contact with drinking water to be essentially lead-free (0.25% weighted average) have been passed in California, Louisiana, Maryland, and Vermont. In order for companies to ship these plumbing products to locations in CA, LA, MD and VT, they must be ANSI certified lead free.
Q. "What is CA AB 1953, LA Act No. 362, MD HB 372, and VT S.152 and how is this different from previous low-lead legislation?"
A. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the amount of lead in drinking water under guidelines established in the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act (passed in 1974; amended in 1988 and 1996). This Act defines "lead-free" as not more than 8% lead in pipes and fixture fittings. PLEASE NOTE: Use of the term "lead-free" varies between the new legislation in CA (AB 1953), LA ( Act No. 362), MD (HB 372), and VT (S.152), and in the current Federal Safe Drinking Water Act requirements. In the new legislation for CA, LA, MD and VT only (as of Jan 2013), it will mean 0.25% or less (weighted average). Similar national legislation is scheduled to go into effect Jan 2014.
Q. "Okay, but how does NSF 61 Annex G fit into this?"
A. Annex G is the weighted average lead content evaluation procedure for NSF/ANSI 61. Annex G is not a standalone procedure, so products must go through NSF/ANSI 61 as well as Annex G requirements to receive certification for a maximum 0.25% lead content. Annex G was developed for the purpose of offering an evaluation method for products to be certified as complying with the CA Health & Safety Code (Section 116875; commonly referred to as AB1953). While this was developed for CA, this method is also available for any other states that have equivalent legislation, such as VT S.152.
Q. "How can I tell if a product is lead free?"
A. Many manufacturers have chosen to mark their products or the packaging with an identifying mark. However, some items that have always been lead free may have no identifying mark, even though they are compliant. If a question arises regarding the lead content of a product, we recommend consulting with the manufacturer.
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