NSF Develops Standard for Low-Lead Plumbing Products in Support of New California Requirements
Source: 
NSF Intl.

Lead reduction requirements effective Jan. 1, 2010

NSF Intl. has announced the development of a new compositional standard for products that come in contact with drinking water, including faucets. The new requirements are incorporated into the NSF/ANSI American National Standard for Drinking Water Products to help protect the public from exposure to lead.

“Annex G – Weighted Average Lead Content Evaluation Procedure to a 0.25 Percent Lead Requirement” allows manufacturers to demonstrate compliance to recently enacted legislation in California that limits the weighted average of lead content in plumbing products, which come in contact with drinking water, to 0.25%.

The annex was recently incorporated into NSF/ANSI Standard 61: Drinking Water System Components—Health Effects, a standard that includes procedures to evaluate products that come in contact with drinking water and to screen out those products that could contribute excessive levels of contaminants into drinking water. Products covered in the standard include: pipes and related products; protective and barrier materials (including cements/coatings); joining and sealing materials (including gaskets, adhesives and lubricants); process media (including carbon, sand, zeolite and ion exchange media); mechanical devices (including water meters, in-line valves, filters and process equipment); mechanical plumbing devices (faucets, drinking fountains and components); and potable water materials (nonmetallic materials).

The inclusion of Annex G is important for manufacturers selling products in California who must comply with the new lead content requirements in addition to the current chemical extraction requirements of NSF/ANSI Standard 61. California recently passed legislation that requires manufacturers to meet the 0.25% weighted average lead content. Other states are also considering low-lead content legislation.

“Annex G establishes a protocol to determine product compliance with the 0.25% maximum weighted average lead content requirement of the California Health Safety Code. It is our expectation that states with low lead requirements will recognize Annex G in their regulations, and this will provide a uniform method for product evaluation,” said Pete Greiner, technical manager, NSF Water Treatment and Distribution Systems Program.

The annex was developed by NSF’s Lead Task Group with guidance from key regulators, proponents of the California lead bill, industry representatives and the NSF Standard 61 Joint Committee. The NSF Joint Committee is comprised of equal representation from public health, user communities and industry to ensure an open, transparent and consensus process.

While California lead content requirements are not scheduled to go into effect until 2010, NSF is providing product evaluations against the annex now, and updating NSF 61 listings to indicate compliance with the low lead requirement.

"Annex G is a consensus standard that took into consideration comments from key stakeholders in California and nationwide. It gives companies a valuable tool for assessing compliance with California's lead content standard. California is leading the way on getting toxic chemicals out of products. Companies that meet the standard will be at a competitive advantage. In conjunction with applicable verification testing, this standard provides valuable information for our laboratory to use in our work,” said Bruce La Belle, chief, California Department of Toxic Substances Control, Environmental Chemistry Laboratory.

Annex G is available at www.nsf.org/media/enews/AnnexG.pdf.

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