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Lead Pipes and Plumbing Fixtures

A revised standard for "lead free" pipes, plumbing fixtures, plumbing fittings, solder and flux, went into effect on January 4, 2014 as a result of the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act, which amended the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The new rule requires that "lead free" plumbing fixtures be used in public water systems and in plumbing that carries water for human consumption in residential and non-residential facilities. The SDWA directs states to enforce these requirements through their plumbing codes, or other appropriate means.

Section 1417(a)(3) of the SDWA makes it unlawful for any person to introduce into commerce plumbing items if they are not lead free. Section 1417(d) defines "lead free" as:

  1. Not containing more than 0.2 percent lead when used with respect to solder and flux; and

  2. Not more than a weighted average of 0.25 percent lead when used with respect to the wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures.

The new rule also created exemptions (SDWA Section 1417(a)(4)) from the prohibitions on the use or introduction into commerce for “pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings or fixtures, including backflow preventers, that are used exclusively for nonpotable services such as manufacturing, industrial processing, irrigation, outdoor watering, or any other uses where the water is not anticipated to be used for human consumption.

More Information

EPA Safe Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.

How to Identify Lead-Free Certification Marks for Drinking Water System & Plumbing Materials Factsheet

Summary of the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act and Frequently Asked Questions

Commonly Asked Questions: Section 1417 of the Safe Drinking Water Act and the NSF Standard


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