Symmons Blog

What Do the New Lead Purity Standards in California Plumbing Mean for You?

Water Purity

The state of California wants to get the lead out, and it’s getting a head start on the rest of North America.

A new 2024 water purity standard for the United States and Canada was enacted a full year earlier on January 1, 2023 by California, in which the NSF/ANSI/CAN 61 aims to cut trace amounts of lead from five micrograms to less than one.

Lead, copper, and other contaminants can enter potable water through aging underground supply pipes, older piping materials within a home or building, and through older plumbing fixtures. The process in which these metals are introduced is called “leaching” and it occurs when microscopic contaminants from the piping or fixtures transfer into the water.

Back in 1991, the Environmental Protection Agency implemented the Lead and Copper Rule to reduce the trace amounts of lead and copper from “potable” water, which is water that is consumed by humans. Since the Lead and Copper Rule was enacted, reports of excessive levels of these metals have dropped by 90%. The organization maintains a goal level of zero lead and copper in drinking water.

What’s All the Fuss About AB 100?

Assembly Bill 100 (AB 100), activated as of January 1, 2023. Starting from day one, no one may continue to manufacture and then sell non-compliant endpoint plumbing devices that do not meet the standard of less than one microgram in the state of California.

After July 1, 2023, sellers in California can no longer sell any non-compliant products. Also, products sold in California must have clear information on their packaging indicating that they meet NSF/ANSI 61-2020.

Compliance with NSF/ANSI/CAN 61-2020 requires products to leach no more than one microgram of lead per liter of water. Endpoint plumbing devices that fall under these requirements include those that handle or deliver the last liter of water, such as faucets, glass fillers, fountains, dispensers, and ice makers.

Historically, California has been among the first states to pass new laws that require new plumbing standards. Often, the rest of the nation eventually follows California’s actions. The same will be true of this regulation. Built into the NSF/ANSI/CAN 61 standard is a requirement for manufacturers to meet the regulations by 2024. Compliance with the national standard remains optional until then in areas outside California.

How Does AB 100 Affect the Types of Plumbing Fixtures You Can Install?

AB 100 will impact the selection of plumbing devices you can purchase and install. After July 1, you will no longer find non-compliant products on shelves in California. California will require that products meeting the standard must bear a “NSF/ANSI/CAN 61: Q ≤ 1” certification mark clearly visible on the packaging.

Those outside of California or those buying products online can look for similar markings from other testing groups. The EPA provides information showing the certification marks from various testing labs that show plumbing fixtures and devices are lead-free. Most of the marks have similar wording as the mark required by California to show that the product meets those standards.

Another variation is NSF/ANSI 372. This mark indicates that the product meets NSF 372, which determines that the lead content on wetted surfaces of the plumbing fixture material is less than 0.25%. LLC or Low Lead are other phrases you may notice on some products certified by ICC-ES, CSA Group, or IAPMO R&T Inc. These certification marks indicate the products passed independent testing for compliance with lead leaching levels of less than one microgram per liter.

Are You Exempt from the Standard If You Work in Another State?

By January 1, 2024, all new plumbing products covered by the requirements must obtain certification that they meet the lead leaching maximum of one microgram per liter or less. Therefore, no US state or location will have exemptions from the standard as of 2024. Start to use certified products now to avoid supply disruptions in the future.

Do You Have a Source for Plumbing Supplies That Meet This New Requirement?

At Symmons, we ensure our products are always in compliance with the latest plumbing regulations, including these new lead purity standards in California and NSF/ANSI/CAN 61.

Symmons has a full line of California Compliant products that meet this new purity standard. We’ve got your back when you need plumbing devices to meet changing requirements in California now, and nationwide in 2024 and beyond.

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