On the surface the question ‘What is a Lead Free Faucet” should self explanatory. It should be a faucet with no lead but that is not the case.
Traditionally nearly all faucets were made from Brass. Brass could contain up to 8% lead. In 2006 California passed a law allowing no more than .25% in the water channel of a faucet to be considered “lead free.” On January 4, 2014 the Federal Government followed suit so your “lead free faucet’ may have up to .25% lead in the water channel which means even faucets sold as “Lead Free Faucet” may have up to .25% lead in water channel.
To circumvent the standard further some manufacturers have increase the length of the supply line to the faucet which are copper – copper does not contain lead – increasing the weight of the water channel without bringing the lead in the faucet to actual compliance with the intent to the law. the increased water supply line adds no value to the faucet except to make it technically compliant with the .25% standard.
Chan notes that the typical household faucet weighs about six and a half pounds. That means a typical household faucet can contain up to a quarter pound of lead and still be labeled “lead free” under the federal safe drinking water law. – Ecopolitology website
The Federal Standard is NSF/ANSI 61.
Frequently asked questions from USEPA can be found here. Sorry it is written in governmenteze.
In future articles we will discuss how to find faucets that are truly lead free and how the manufactures represented by ANO have met and exceeded the laws.