How to Identify Lead-Free Certification Marks for Drinking Water & Plumbing Products
Following the headline news about the Flint water crisis, where lead from the supply lines leached into the city water when it switched its supply source, ensuring that lead levels are reduced or eliminated in drinking water has become an important issue for water utilities. But how do you determine whether that old fitting sitting back in the shop is free of lead or not? Here's a quick look at lead-free certification marks and how to identify them on your drinking water and plumbing products.
Typically, the certifying agency will include their logo or mark with either the words "Low Lead", "Low-Lead" or identifier text which notes which standard the material meets. If identifier text is used, it is located near the certifying company's logo or mark, typically below or to the right of the logo or mark. Many of these may include a C, a US or both to designate the intended market of manufacture. There are eight ANSI-certified testing agencies, including the following:
- CSA Group: This organization's logo is a large C with a smaller SA inside of it.
- IAPMO R&T Inc.: This logo is a shield shape with a banner across it and either the words "IAPMO R&T" or "UPC" in the banner.
- ICC-ES: Their logo has ICC in the upper left, ES in a circle and PMG in the lower right, and is typically followed by the words Low Lead.
- Intertek: This logo is a circle with initials in it, either ETL or WHI, with the word Intertek below it.
- NSF International: The logo for this company is a simple circle with NSF appearing within it, and identifier text must appear below the logo.
- Truesdail: This is the most complex logo used, with a rope border on a circle, with a black space within that stating "Certified by Truesdail Laboratories Inc. Est. 1931", within which are the initials TL and an object.
- UL: The UL logo is a simple black circle with a white interior and the letters UL listed within.
- WQA: This logo is either a gold band around a black circle which states "Tested & Certified Independently" and QWA in the center, or a gold seal which states "Tested and Certified Under Industry Standards" with Quality Water and a logo appearing in the center.
There are three different standards which are used in the certification process:
- NSF/ANSI Standard 372, NSF/ANSI 372 or NSF-372: This standard dictates that the product in question meets a weighted average lead content of less than or equal to 0.25% when it's used on wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings and plumbing fixtures.
- NSF/ANSI Standard 61, Annex G, NSF/ANSI 61 Annex G, or NSF 61-G: This standard dictates that the product in question meets leachate requirements for contaminants including metals and non-metals, in addition to the lead-free requirement of NSF-372. In some cases, the text may include "61/9-G" as an option.
- California HB AB1953, Section 116875, AB 1953 (2006) or CA HSC §116875 [AB 1953(2006)]: This standard is, in essence, the same as NSF-372, but is provided under California law instead of the national standard.
By having a solid grasp of how to identify lead-free certification marks, you can ensure that the fittings and components you're putting into place in your water system won't cause problems like the City of Flint has faced. But what if you're not quite sure about an item or need help coming up with a strategy to replace known lead-bearing components in your system? The experienced professionals at New Concept Tools can help. Please feel free to contact us today for more information, with any questions or to place an order.