The California Building Standards Commission references NSF International’s plumbing standard in the latest version of the California Plumbing Code for water piping systems. NSF/ANSI Standard 14, Plastics Piping System Components and Related Materials, verifies the performance and safety of plastics piping-system components and related materials.

The California Building Standards Commission removed the state’s amendment that excludes the use of cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) for water piping systems from the California Plumbing Code. PEX is now permitted for use in all occupancies, including commercial, residential, and institutional building construction, rehabilitation, and repair under the jurisdiction of the California Building Standards Commission and responsible agencies in all areas of California.

Another significant change in the California Plumbing Code includes requiring all brass fittings used with PEX tubing to meet NSF/ANSI Standard 14-2009 requirements. The effective date to comply was Aug. 18, 2010, for the 2007 California Plumbing Code and is Jan. 1, 2011, for the 2010 California Plumbing Code.

The regulations include mitigation measures identified in the commission’s Second Revised Draft Environmental Impact Report (SRDEIR) and compliance with NSF/ANSI Standard 14, which defines health and performance requirements for plumbing-system products, materials, and ingredients. All PEX tubing installed in California must provide at least 30-day ultraviolet protection and brass fittings used with PEX tubing must meet NSF/ANSI Standard 14 requirements to prevent dezincification (corrosion of brass) and stress-corrosion cracking (cracking caused by mechanical stress and exposure to a corrosive environment).

NSF/ANSI Standard 14 also requires any copper alloy containing more than 15 percent zinc by weight in potable-water systems to be tested according to ISO 6509: Corrosion of Metal and Alloys—Determination of Dezincification Resistance of Brass. To evaluate resistance to stress corrosion cracking, the test method defined in ASTM B858: Standard Test Method for Ammonia Vapor Test for Determining Susceptibility to Stress Corrosion Cracking in Copper Alloys is utilized.

NSF/ANSI Standard 61: Drinking Water System Components—Health Effects already is required in the California Plumbing Code for drinking-water products and was relied upon in the SRDEIR to address health concerns. NSF/ANSI Standard 61 is the nationally recognized health-effects standard for all devices, components, and materials that contact drinking water and is referenced in NSF/ANSI Standard 14.

For additional information about this change to the California Plumbing Code, contact NSF International Code & Regulatory Manager Jeremy Brown at 734-769-5196 or brown@nsf.org. Additional information on NSF’s Plastics Piping System Components Programs can be found on NSF’s Website.