Lead in plumbing products in contact with drinking water (Volume Three)

Posted on: May 25th, 2021 by Petra

In 2018, the ABCB commissioned Macquarie University to undertake a literature review on the extent plumbing products and materials contribute to lead levels in excess of those permitted by the NCC. The report identified that the most likely source of lead in drinking water at the outlet was from the installation of copper alloy plumbing products from within the premises. Subsequently, the report recommended that the ABCB consider reducing the permissible lead levels in the manufacture of copper alloy plumbing products in contact with drinking water. Lead is currently used in the manufacture of plumbing products and is permitted by Australian Standards. The exact lead content of products varies by component, though some products in contact with drinking water can contain up to 6% lead as a proportion of raw material.

In 2019, the ABCB convened a Lead in Plumbing Products forum with representatives of plumbing manufacturers, Standards Australia’s technical committees responsible for the relevant product standards, enHealth and plumbing suppliers and retailers. During the forum, participants considered the need to further reduce lead levels in plumbing products and a survey of attendees revealed that 92% agreed that lead content in plumbing products in contact with drinking water should be reduced.

In December 2020, the ABCB released a Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS), which considered whether reducing the lead content in plumbing products in contact with drinking water would have a measurable impact on reducing the lead content in drinking water and blood lead levels found within the general population. The Consultation RIS concluded that of the options considered, requiring all copper alloy plumbing products in contact with drinking water to contain a maximum weighted average lead content of 0.25% when measured across the wetted surface area, would have the largest net benefit to the community. As such, this technical change has been reflected in the NCC 2022 public comment draft. A copy of the Macquarie University Report and Consultation RIS can be found on the ABCB website https://www.abcb.gov.au/

Please see below the recently released public comment  draft NCC 2022 plus the PCA draft, Volume 3 of the NCC for your information and review. Reference to low lead in the first document can be found on pages 30 to 34, and the PCA draft from page 29 and 30.

Prior to responding formally to the Public Comment Draft, on behalf of the PPI Group, if Members have any comments on the draft please email Mr Stuart Henry prior to 21 June 2021 to enable the PPI Group response to be developed.

NCC-2022-Volume-Three-PCD

NCC 2022 PCD Supporting information

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Lead in plumbing products in contact with drinking water (Volume Three)

In 2018, the ABCB commissioned Macquarie University to undertake a literature review on the extent plumbing products and materials contribute to lead levels in excess of those permitted by the NCC. The report identified that the most likely source of lead in drinking water at the outlet was from the installation of copper alloy plumbing […]

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In particular to place our view on the record regarding the design, effectiveness and efficiency (including cost) of the WELS Scheme provided by the third review of the WELS Act 2005, being undertaken by Allen & Clarke. We wish to address opportunities for regulatory reform with comment on the current structure and administration  of the […]

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