Lead can be found in your fixtures (faucets) your pipes and the fittings of your plumbing system (for example if you have brass fittings on a pex-line system.) The previous administration had a standard that fixtures and other elements of plumbing systems could be called “lead-free” if they contained up to 8% (yes eight percent!) lead.  California has much stricter standards than the current Federal standards and if you want to try to achieve lead-free plumbing buy products intended for sale in the California market (we had my mother buy us a faucet in Napa, California and bring it up to Oregon when she came to visit - so we could make sure to have one that met the California standards.) Please be aware that there are no standards currently for lead in bath and kitchen fixtures (like toilets, sinks and bath tubs) and you can buy a brand new kitchen sink that is loaded with lead (both in the substrate and the surface coating.)  When we tried to buy a new kitchen sink we could only find one model made by one brand that was guaranteed to be lead-free, this was an Americast sink ( a large single tub style sink with a side drain.)  This worked out well for us since we got rid of our bathtub (which tested positive for lead) as well as our old kitchen sink (which tested super high positive for lead) and now the new sink serves both as a kitchen sink and as a small bath tub for the younger Rubins! We have yet to find a lead-free bathtub  - but will resume that search as soon as we can afford one.

© 2009. Tamara Rubin,  All Rights Reserved