Lead-Free Law


The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act was enacted on January 4th 2011.  It amends Section 1417 of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and became effective January 4th, 2014.  According to the EPA, this amendment can be broken down as follows:

1)      Lower maximum lead content of the wetter surfaces of plumbing products such as pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, & fixtures from 8.0% to a weighted average of 0.25%.

2)      Establish a statutory method of the calculation of lead content.

a.      For each wetted component the percentage of lead in the component is multiplied by the ratio of the wetted surface area of that component to the total wetted surface area of the entire product to arrive at the weighted percentage of lead of the component.

b.      The weighted percentage of lead of each wetted component is added together, and the sum of these weighted percentages constitutes the weighted average lead content of the product.  The lead content of the material used to produce wetted components is used to determine compliance

c.      For lead content of materials that are provided as a range, the maximum content of the range must be used.

3)      Eliminate the requirement that lead free products be in compliance with voluntary standards established in accordance with SDWA 1417 (e) for leaching of lead from new plumbing fittings & fixtures.

4)      Create exemptions in SDWA section 1417 (a) from the prohibitions on the use or introductions into commerce for:

a.      Pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings or fixtures, including backflow preventers that are used exclusively for non-potable services or other uses where the water is not anticipated for human consumption.

b.      Toilets, bidets, urinals, fill valves, flushometer valves, tub fillers, shower valves, service saddles, or water distribution main gate valves that are 2 inches in diameter or larger.

What’s Affected?

What’s Exempt?

Brass Ball Valves


Brass Check Valves


Back Flow Preventers

Fill Valves

Angle Stops

Flushometer Valves

Straight Stops

Tub Fillers

Cast Brass Copper Fittings

Shower Valves

Threaded Brass Fittings

Shower Saddles

Water Main Fittings

Washing Machines


Water Maingate


Valves that are 2” or larger in diameter




Quick Facts       

  • Pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings & fixtures affected include both point of use and point of entry devices.
  • All pipes, fittings, & fixtures used exclusively needs to be clearly labeled as illegal to use on potable service and not for human consumption.
  • Human consumption includes, drinking, teeth brushing, food preparation, dish washing, etc.
  • Anything installed before January 4th, 2014 does not need to be replaced as long as it meets the previous lead free guidelines.
  • State and local jurisdictions may have additional limitations or requirements outside of regulations set in the SDWA.
  • There is no exemption for temporary or emergency repairs.
  • It is recommended that all products for non-potable use be marked on both the packaging and the product to ensure it is no used for human consumption
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