Three years ago, a law helped prevent lead from contaminating your drinking water. However, 20 percent of the lead still comes from the pipes and brass fittings in your home. New standards though could decrease the amount of lead in your water, but how does this affect you and your home?
That standard washer in your home, it's fine. When you repair that faucet that's when we will see some changes involved. Many fittings that have always been brass you will start to see brass. There is the same exact ball but instead of brass we used to have you will see it come in plastic.
They will be able to make lead free brass. And what that standard is ¼ of a percent. Now one quarter of a percent of brass can have some lead in it. And that's what will determine the lead free. Don't confuse that with low lead, because low lead can have up to eight percent lead in the brass and that's not going to be allowed anymore. So the first thing is you will see a lot more plastics pieces, so when you buy a new faucet, all good faucets have solid, sturdy brass. But as we look at new ones now, you will see nearly the whole inside is plastic and any part that is metal will be made out of steel or have plastic linings in the tube.
Things for outside like a garden hose, standard brass will be available. We are talking about only things that you would drink water from.
Gas valves will be fine since there is no drinking water going through them. For years plumbers have known they have had to have lead free sauter. If it was for plumbing we had to be very careful to tell them it has to be lead free. It will be harder to get parts. Especially for older faucets. As a retailer it is illegal for me to sell any of the old leaded parts at this point. We have to pull them off the shelf and dispose of those. If you do find the parts and they are compliant they will be about 40% higher in price.
You will see much more use of plastic fittings and also in new houses. And also anytime you come in for a standard pipe fitting and if I have some that are still leaded brass it might be because they be used for something other than drinking water. I will have to ask you, "Is this for drinking water?" And if you say yes, I will have to not sell it to you. You can only buy the old leaded fittings for garden hoses, utility stock tanks, things like that. There is no standard yet for these companies to determine how to tell. For us we have a little green spot on the tags that we know that is a lead free fittings.