The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act is forcing changes in the store aisles.
Major changes are bearing down on plumbers and consumers as plumbing fixtures will soon have to meet new government-mandated environmental requirements, say product managers with House-Hasson Hardware.
House-Hasson, the Knoxville, Tenn.-based regional hardware distributor, is working with its 2,000 hardware store and lumberyard dealers to make sure that they -- and their customers -- are ready for the new products mandated under the law, the company said.
“We’ve been communicating continuously on these subjects with our dealers and vendors,” said Don Hasson, president of House-Hasson Hardware. “Everyone’s life is going to be altered in some way. We’re making sure our dealers have the information they need to make it a smooth transition for their customers’ benefit.”
The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act, signed into law in January 2011, requires a weighted average of no more than 0.25% lead on wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings and fixtures. The law alters just about everything that touches potable water, said Steve Rudd, House-Hasson plumbing product manager.
“Plumbing products made of brass and any products with brass components have a certain amount of lead that goes into them,” said Rudd.
The changeover to the different type of brass means that “factories had to make a tremendous investment in new equipment,” Rudd said. “It takes a much harder metal to make threads (to join plumbing components) than in the past, and tolerances for plumbing fittings are very strict. As a result, production isn’t as fast and it’s more expensive.
“Also, each product has to meet codes from the federal down to county level.”
There are some 900 plumbing-related brass fitting line items in the House-Hasson inventory that can’t be sold after Jan. 4, 2014, Rudd said, adding: “They’re selling very quickly right now.”
These brass facts are changing faucets as well. Beginning Jan. 4, 2014, faucets containing lead cannot be sold, which means faucets are being converted to plastic or a hybrid containing no lead, Rudd said.