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UL releases white paper on the regulation of lead in drinking water system components

June 9, 2011

White paper serves as educational resource on regulations, enforcement and compliance of lead levels in drinking water system components

NORTHBROOK, Ill., June 8, 2011 -UL (Underwriters Laboratories Inc.), a global leader in water quality and safety, announced today the release of a white paper on the regulation of lead in drinking water system components. The white paper, "An Overview of Regulations for Lead Levels in Drinking Water System Components", examines federal and state regulations on the lead content in drinking water systems components and outlines compliance options for manufacturers and distributors.

Lead typically enters drinking water through the corrosion of pipes and plumbing fixtures.  Recent regulations are aimed to reduce the lead content of drinking water system components. Because even low-level exposure can cause adverse health effects, lead continues to receive increased scrutiny from federal and state officials.

Federal efforts to control lead concentrations in drinking water began in 1974 with the passage of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Under the SDWA, drinking water system components must qualify as "lead-free" by complying with federal requirements. In January, 2011, the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act defined stricter "lead-free" requirements by reducing the maximum lead content levels needed for compliance. These provisions will take effect in January 2014.

Concurrently, a number of states have moved quickly over the past few years to enact regulation aimed at reducing the lead content of drinking water system components. More restrictive state limits are already in effect in California and Vermont, and new lead content restrictions are set to take effect in Maryland next year.

"There is a clear trend toward increased regulation of the lead content of drinking water system components; yet, confusion still exists regarding federal and state requirements and what steps manufacturers should take to ensure that their products are compliant now and in the future," said Hank Lambert, general manager of UL Global Food and Water Businesses. "Because UL has extensive knowledge of  standards and testing protocols relating to lead, we hope that the white paper will provide clarity on this issue."

While new national lead-free limits will go into effect in 2014, strict state limits and testing requirements are already in force. Manufacturers are quickly working to bring their products into compliance by obtaining the necessary product certifications and testing services. With a key role in the development of standards and testing protocols regarding lead, UL is positioned to help manufacturers demonstrate compliance with existing and anticipated state and federal requirements.

Stakeholders are encouraged to use the white paper as an educational resource to learn about lead requirements and how to ensure uninterrupted compliance with necessary federal and state regulations. Taking such steps will ensure steady market access, provide competitive advantage and contribute to the health of consumers.

To download the white paper, visit . For more information on UL's testing and analytical services for the water industry, visit



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