Consultation RIS: Lead in plumbing products in contact with drinking water

Closes 1 Mar 2021

Opened 7 Dec 2020

Overview

A small amount of lead is currently used in the manufacture of some plumbing products and is permitted by Australian Standards. The exact lead content of products varies by component, although some products in contact with drinking water contain up to 6% lead as a proportion of raw material.

As part of the ABCB’s Lead in Plumbing Products Project, the ABCB commissioned a literature review in 2018 on the extent plumbing products and materials may contribute to lead levels in drinking water, in excess of those permitted by the Australian Drinking Water Quality Guidelines.

The report found that while drinking water meets the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines under the current regulatory framework, copper alloy components installed between the point of connection and point of discharge is a principle source of lead addition. Subsequently, the report recommended the ABCB consider reducing the permissible lead levels in the manufacture of copper alloy plumbing products in contact with drinking water.

Despite this, it is to be stressed that the quality of Australia’s reticulated water supply is of an extremely high quality and instances where lead levels exceed the Guidelines are rare.

This Consultation RIS aims to determine whether the permissible lead content in plumbing products and material specifications should be reduced, given the potential of lead leaching from copper alloy plumbing products in contact with drinking water.

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The scope of the analysis is focused on plumbing products in contact with drinking water only. Other plumbing products (i.e. products not in contact with water intended for drinking) and the infrastructure of Network Utility Operators is not within the scope of the analysis. The focus is also on new products and does not recommend the premature replacement of existing plumbing products.

Why we are consulting

The ABCB believes meaningful consultation can promote trust between industry, the community and government and is interested to hear the views of stakeholders on the Consultation RIS. Questions have been included to guide respondents on specific matters where more information may assist the Final RIS. With the exception of the information collection statement questions, all questions are voluntary.

Responses are invited until 11:59PM AEDT Monday 1 March 2021. Comments can be submitted using the online form or uploaded manually as an attachment.

Consultation RIS: Lead in plumbing products in contact with drinking water

Audiences

  • Architecture and Design
  • Engineering
  • Plumbing
  • Specialist - health
  • Specialist - hydraulic/plumbing
  • Community and Non-Government Organisations
  • Government
  • General Public
  • Plumbing Code Committee
  • ABCB Board
  • Plumbing Administrations
  • Building and plumbing products
  • Compliance, testing and accreditation

Interests

  • Health and amenity
  • Sanitary plumbing and drainage
  • Water services
  • NCC Volume Three
  • Referenced documents
  • Technical specifications