Is a lead free faucet important?
There has been a lot of discussion including in this blog about the lead in faucets. Some jurisdictions including California have passed legislation requiring faucets to be lead free.
There is very little doubt that lead is the water supply or anywhere in the residential environment is not good. It has been linked to birth and learning defects. If your house was built before 1978 it is likely to have lead in the paint. In many states people selling their homes built before this date are required to test for lead and disclose the results to purchases.
Up until recently nearly all faucets on the market were made of brass which included lead as an ingredient to mold the brass into a faucet. Traditional faucets contained between 6 and 8% lead by weight. Faucet manufactures worked very hard to product “lead free” brass. They reduced the lead but as of this writing had not found a way to produce a lead free faucet from brass.
The legislation in California allows up to .25% by weight lead in the water channel. Many faucet manufacturers began attaching overlong copper waterlines (copper is lead free) to increase the weight and therefore allow more lead in the brass water channel because the weight of the entire system was higher.
Recently we have begun to see faucets with copper and plastic water channels to isolate the brass from the water channel. Solid stainless steel faucets such as Eclipse contain no brass and therefore no lead. The kitchen faucets from Freendo that are offered by ANO have a lead free copper water channel.
If you want to include a lead free faucet in your project make sure you read the fine print on the faucet box. We have seen a number of faucets sold with large lettering on the front saying they are lead free only to have a small disclaimer on the back saying they meet California standards but have lead in the water channel.