Lead Free Brass Fittings
Brass is a copper alloy that contains:
- zinc (5-40%) as the principal alloying element, tin, iron, aluminum, nickel, silicon, and lead.
Zinc is added to brass to increase tensile strength. Tensile strength is the greatest stress a substance can bear without tearing apart.
Lead is added to improve "malleability." Materials with good malleability require little power to cut, can be cut quickly, easily obtain a good finish, and do not wear the tooling as much. Lead also makes castings pressure tight by filling the voids created as the casting cools. In the past, brass, used to make household fixtures, contained 1.5-7.5% lead. Solder is a metallic compound used to seal plumbing joints. In the past, most solders contained about 50% lead.
New regulations regarding brass fittings will be in effect starting January 14, 2013.
U.S. Federal Legislation - January 2011, President mallebility signed into law the 'Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act' (Public Law 111-380), reducing the allowable lead content on wetted surfaces in water pipes, pipe fittings, and plumbing fixtures to 0.25%, taking effect January 4, 2014. Canadian Action - Health Canada is reviewing including the same wording as the U.S. legislation into the Canadian standards and codes with the same effective date of January 4, 2014.
NSF 61 - Changes to allowable lead leachate levels were put into effect July 1, 2012.
NO-LEAD is a term used interchangeably with LOW-LEAD and LEAD-FREE, when used in the definition of brass. These terms are used in Laws and Standards to define brasses that are less than0.25% lead by weight.
WHAT IS NSF 61 ANNEX F?
Annex F was added to NSF/ANSI-61 2007a and takes effect July 1,2012, reducing the allowable lead leachate limit from the current 15 ppb to 5 ppb (parts per billion in water).
Why is lead in plumbing products being targeted?
Lead primarily enters drinking water from the corrosion of plumbing materials that contain lead and are in contact with the water. Lead that leaches from household pipes and faucets into drinking water cannot be easily detected nor removed. Exposure to lead in drinking water can cause a variety of adverse health effects, especially in Children and infants . Their Exposure to high levels of lead in drinking water can result in delays in physical or mental development, reduced intelligence, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, behavioral problems, stunted growth, impaired hearing and kidney damage. For adults, high levels of exposure to lead in drinking water can result in kidney Problems, high blood pressure, nerve disorders, fertility problems, muscle and joint pain, irritability, memory and concentration problems. Furthermore, pregnant women can pass lead contained in their bodies to their fetuses.