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What are AB 1953, S.152 and AB 715?

The damage to public health that is a result of exposure to lead may be among the most well-documented of any toxic contaminant in existence with children being the most prone to the effects of lead exposure and lead poisoning.  The state governments in California and Vermont have taken action to reduce the incidence of lead exposure by regulating home water fixtures and fittings, with each state passing similar legislation that is aimed at halting the use of lead in the manufacture of these items with Assembly Bill 1953 (AB 1953) will go into effect in California in January 2010, and Senate Bill S.152 will follow suit and become law on the same date.  Both pieces of legislation mirror one another and require that water pipes, fixtures and fittings contain no more than 0.25% weighted average of lead – which can be marketed as "lead free".  As shocking as it may seem, current laws regarding the use of lead in home plumbing allow as much as 8% lead – which is far beyond safe levels.  These laws have great implications for both residential and commercial plumbing customers who plan to install new kitchen or bathroom faucets, water fixtures, or fittings – and those who plan to replace plumbing lines after January 2010.  Some manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon to get in compliance with the law early – others are expected to follow if they plan to sell their wares in these two states.  Leading environmental and public health organizations as well as the California Metals Coalition supported the AB 1953, which was just recently signed by Governor Schwarzenegger.
Frequently Asked Questions about AB 1953 (FAQs)

Who will be affected by AB 1953 and S.152?
All consumers and businesses that purchase or distribute plumbing products in the states of California and Vermont are affected by these two laws.

Which products will be affected by these laws?
All products that are intended to dispense water for human consumption are affected by the new mandates, including kitchen faucets, bathroom faucets, bar faucets, lavatory faucets, bubblers, glass fillers, pot fillers, and supply stops.  Shower faucets, laundry faucets, service sinks or laboratory sinks and their fittings are not affected.  Products that are not compliant with the criteria of the law may not be sold in California or Vermont. 

Does this legislation apply to homeowners only?
No.  The legislation applies to both residential and commercial plumbing. 

How can consumers determine if a product meets the new specifications required under law?
A third-party testing organization will certify products to make sure that they meet the requirements of being lead free and are compliant with the specifications set out by the new laws, and these third-party organizations will be able to provide the documentation that the product is up to code. 

What makes AB 1953 different from NSF61, Section 9?  
AB 1953 is not a replacement for NSF61, Section 9 – which is a performance standard that is used to measure the amount of lead or other metals that may contaminate water at its point of use.  AB 1953 will specifically address the lead content used during the manufacturing process and ensure that products contain no more than 0.25% lead. 

AB 715 for California
Phases in requirements that water closets and water-using urinals have lower flush volumes, requiring manufacturers to produce an increasing percentage of high-efficiency models until 2014 when all new water closets and urinals would have to meet the high-efficiency definition.

Specifically the new law requires all water closets installed or sold in the state to use no more than 1.28 gallons per flush.

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