There's no doubt that there have been many changes in the definition of lead-free over the years, with a dizzying number of changes, definitions and standards. As these changes move forward, the continued reduction of lead in waterworks and plumbing fixtures is a concern for the continued operation of many waterworks and utilities companies. How do you stay ahead of the continuous changes of lead-free definitions and requirements that can cost your organization serious money, time and labor down the road? By starting with lead-free brass in the first place.
How Lead-Free Brass Saves Money
Since the inception of the Safe Water Drinking Act in 1974, there have been a wide range of changes made in terms of total lead content, wettable surface content, parts of the system that are affected and many other factors. We won't even touch required participation in a voluntary standard here, as those two completely contrary terms suggest something that could only be created by a government committee. The only constant in this streaming change in legal requirements is that lead content in plumbing materials is becoming less and less acceptable as time goes by. Even the very definition of lead-free has been changed multiple times, from total lead content to only lead content on wettable surfaces to weighted averages and everything in between.
With the continued vilification of lead in waterworks and plumbing pipes, fittings and fixtures, the only sure way of ensuring that your system remains in compliance without having to grandfather in or replace materials down the road is by starting out to eliminate lead entirely in your system, starting with any new service, replacement lines or repairs that need to take place. A great way to make this happen without too much of a hit on your budget is to invest in lead-free brass, giving you the long term reliance that brass provides without the lead that is commonly added to brass fittings to fill voids and lubricate machining tools.
By immediately incorporating lead-free brass into your system, no further changes will affect your ability to operate or require expensive changes to your system to remain in compliance. Unlike other "lead-free" brass definitions, which can allow up to 0.25% of lead on wetting surfaces provided they pass a particular leaching standard, lead-free brass contains no lead whatsoever. This protects you from any future changes in lead content requirements, because your system will already be completely lead-free.
Another place where you'll gain value is through customer confidence. Many homeowners are concerned about even low levels of lead found in other "lead-free" products. Being able to tell them that your system is changing to lead-free products will help set their mind at ease. In fact, stories of lead contamination in public water systems have recently gained national attention and have been reported in major media outlets. One very popular story is the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
According to Wikipedia, "between 6,000 and 12,000 children have been exposed to drinking water with high levels of lead and they may experience a range of serious health problems." Wikipedia also notes that, "Four government officials—one from the City of Flint, two from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and one from the Environmental Protection Agency—resigned over the mishandling of the crisis."
In addition to various articles, CNN ran a story recapping what happened in Flint, Michigan which can be seen below.
There are other stories proving the increased public awareness being generated by lead contaminated water. For example, the Sun Sentinel: Lead Pipes Lurk in Older Neighborhoods Across the Nation and an article from the New York Times: Unsafe Lead Levels in Tap Water Not Limited to Flint.
These are just a few examples of public awareness being generated by lead contaminated water in the United Staes.
If you're ready to get out of the dizzying changes defining lead content and lead-free products, lead-free brass is a great investment that will help keep your future costs down while requiring only a small amount of additional investment in the present. If you need help determining the best lead-free brass products for your system's needs, please feel free to contact us today. At Red Hed Manufacturing, our commitment to lead-free brass helps ensure you'll have your system in place long before the next set of changes come into effect.
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