California, Vermont get the lead out of plumbing fixtures

Dec 30, 2009 | 11:27 AM | Anne Riley

It's out of the paint, it's out of the gasoline and—as of 12:01 a.m. Jan. 1, 2010—it's out of the potable water fittings in the country's most populous state. Lead, a heavy metal rapidly losing favor in applications across the United States, is now a thing of the past in plumbing fixtures in California.

California Assembly Bill 1953, which limits the lead content of plumbing fixtures to less than 0.25 percent from up to 8 percent on wetted surfaces, went into effect at the turn of the calendar year in an effort to minimize the public's potential exposure to the toxic metal.

Although the law does not mandate the retroactive installation of lead-free fittings, all new brass plumbing parts for use in California potable water systems must now be lead-free—meaning suppliers of brass alloys to that market had to adapt.

Luckily, they had time to do so. The law was signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006, giving suppliers nearly four years to develop lead-free solutions.....

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