One of the best materials for valves and fittings is brass. Brass is a very commonly used alloy for plumbing applications, with modern versions being made with around 67% copper and 33% zinc (and almost 90% of modern brass is even recycled). But there’s sometimes another ingredient added to brass: lead, usually used at a concentration around 2%.
This can be a problem if you’re a plumber doing work on household waterworks, or a store that carries brass fittings used for plumbing work. Why? It’s all about the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act.
In 2011, Congress enacted the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act, which amended guidelines set in place by the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974. As of 2014, brass fittings must now contain less than 0.25% lead, rather than 8%. The purpose of this change is to protect consumers from harmful contamination. Anything below that 0.25% threshold can legally be labeled as lead free brass fittings under the new standards.
Plumbers and other professionals must now be extremely careful about how they source parts. If you use non-compliant products, you could end up paying costly fines or seeing other negative consequences — even losing your license. For that reason, it’s extremely important that you’re paying attention to where you get any new supplies.
Choosing the Right Parts
Of course, your base level of concern should be looking for products labeled as lead free brass fittings. But it can’t hurt to do some background checking on the company, as well, and make sure it’s a well-respected brass fittings manufacturer with a history of policy compliance and quality workmanship. And, of course, you should ensure it promises the high level of customer service that you deserve.
Are you looking for lead free compression fittings or other brass fittings? Discuss how you keep your operations policy-compliant in the comments.