The Water Quality Association (WQA) has announced a new certification program for companies facing low-lead laws that went into effect Jan. 1 in California. California state law now prohibits the introduction into commerce of any product intended to convey or dispense water for human consumption that is not “lead free,” as defined in the California Health and Safety Code Section 116875 revisions as per Assembly Bill 1953. The maximum allowable lead content will be 0.2-percent lead in solder and flux and 0.25-percent lead in products made to convey or dispense drinking water, determined by a weighted average of wetted surface areas.

All pipe, pipe/plumbing fixtures, solder, or flux must be certified by an independent American National Standards Institute- (ANSI-) accredited third-party certification body. Other products covered by the new California regulation (such as drinking-water treatment products) may be required to obtain certification through an ANSI-accredited certification body as well.

The WQA now offers certification for low-lead compliance to California regulations. Vermont has passed similar rules, which also are covered by the new WQA certification program. During the process:
• WQA will perform a desktop review of lead content.
• WQA’s laboratory will perform X-ray-fluorescence (XRF) scanning on materials that contain lead in their formulation and some materials that are said not to contain lead to confirm the exact lead content.
• Digestion will be performed if the results from the XRF scan are higher than the disclosed lead-content percentage.

Products registered under California’s Water Treatment Device Certification Law will not require additional third-party certification to the low-lead standard, but all products will have to comply with the revisions to the California Health and Safety Code using one of the following methods:
• Self-certify or substantiate that products comply.
• Third-party laboratory testing demonstrating compliance.
• Product certification using an ANSI-accredited certification body to verify compliance.