Plumbing contractors as well as consumers should take note to check for proper certification marks on drinking water plumbing fixtures starting January 4. Those fixtures must meet new federal requirements for lower lead content. The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act was enacted in 2011 and is an amendment to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
Lead can get into drinking water at the household level through service lines and interior plumbing fixtures. Exposure to significant levels of lead can cause insomnia, headache, excess fatigue, and many more serious health issues.
The definition of “lead-free” has changed from a maximum content of 8% lead to a maximum weighted average of 0.25% lead for the wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures that provide water for human consumption. The definition of “lead-free” for solders and flux is unchanged, and continues to be defined as containing not more than 0.2 percent lead.
The Environmental Protection Agency has more information available on its website.