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OFFICE OF REPRESENTATIVE ANNA G. ESHOO (CA-14)

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

http://eshoo.house.gov Contact: Ben Bradford

(202) 225-8104

ben.bradford@mail.house.gov


House Passes Eshoo Legislation to Eliminate Lead in Drinking Water

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation last night to eliminate the serious health threat and economic burden caused by lead exposure from household water sources. The legislation will update the national lead content standard to nearly eradicate lead in faucets and fixtures, which currently contribute up to 20 percent of human lead exposure, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) wrote the legislation (H.R. 5289, the Get the Lead Out Act) and it was included in the Assistance, Quality, and Affordability Act of 2010 (AQUA)—the bill the House passed today by a voice vote

“The Safe Drinking Water Act has failed to effectively protect against the lead exposure acquired through our plumbing systems,” Rep. Eshoo said. “In 21st century America, families have a right to clean water in their homes. Lead-free plumbing is an existing alternative, it’s affordable, and it’s time we adopt it across the nation.”

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which determines the national lead content standard, currently allows up to 8% lead content for faucets and other plumbing fixtures, and limits the amount of lead that can leach from plumbing into drinking water. But health studies have concluded that much smaller amounts of lead exposure can have serious impacts on children and adults, including kidney disease, reduced IQ, hypertension, hearing loss, and brain damage. Get the Lead Out would reduce the allowable lead content from 8% to 0.25%—generally agreed to be a statistically insignificant amount of exposure.

“California recognized this threat and in 2006 enacted the toughest lead content standard for drinking water faucets, fittings, and plumbing systems anywhere in the world,” Rep. Eshoo said. “This bill is the next step. It represents a progressive and major effort that will eliminate the threat of lead in faucets and fixtures across the country.”

The California law, A.B. 1953, enacted a new “lead free” standard, requiring manufacturers to phase out potential exposure from materials in drinking water plumbing by this year. After the law passed, major plumbing fixture manufacturers produced lead-free faucets and fixtures at competitive prices ahead of statutory compliance deadlines. Since the California law, Vermont and Maryland have also adopted Get the Lead Out laws and the District of Columbia and Virginia have introduced similar legislation.

The health impact of lead exposure has an estimated economic cost of more than $43 billion annually in lost time, health costs, and related matters. Get the Lead Out has received the support of state health officials, numerous children’s health organizations, prominent national environmental organizations, local governments, scientific associations, national drinking water associations and the Association of California Water Agencies representing California’s drinking water suppliers. The Plumbing Manufacturers Institute, the association that represents all major faucet companies, also supports the legislation.

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