Lead-free alloys answer mandates from lead reduction law One of the biggest waves of change in the plumbing industry is set to take place Jan. 4, 2014. That’s when all valves, fittings and fixture products in drinking water systems must meet leadfree* standards. The federal Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act applies to any product used in systems where water is anticipated to be used for human consumption. Understanding the nuances of lead-free alloys now can lead to an easy transition in adopting proper installation techniques and compliance by next year.Lead-free alloys, such as silicon-based HydraPure® Performance Bronze™ by NIBCO, offer technical attributes that far exceed traditional plumbing alloys. Engineered for performance Superior heat tolerance, strength and corrosion resistance set silicon-based bronze alloys apart from other materials. Silicon adds significant strength to copper alloys and elemental silicon melts at a temperature of 2,572° F. Due to the high melting point, the silicon-based alloy is not affected by solder installation or high-temperature service and it can be brazed with confidence. Plumbing professionals can learn more about lead-free alloys and how to comply with the upcoming law by going to www.NIBCOleadfree.com. The website includes a lead-free soldering video that gives Recommendations for soldering silicon-bronze alloys. To help plumbing professionals identify and comply with lead-free product requirements, NIBCO® lead-free products feature distinctive identifiers: ■ Blue hang tags; ■ White handles; ■ Double oval in body castings; and ■ Blue carton labels. Ahead of its time For more than two decades, NIBCO has been at the forefront of development and commercialization of lead-free plumbing products. Its initial offering featured leadfree brass and bronze fittings and valves that used a bismuth-based alloy. Knowing the technical shortcomings of bismuth alloys, NIBCO introduced a time-proven silicon performance bronze alloy in 2009. This vision and experience have enabled NIBCO to stay ahead of regulations and ahead of the industry. As one of the founding members of the Get The Lead Out Plumbing Consortium, NIBCO supports the uniform national standard to harmonize lead-free product requirements. The company also actively collaborates with consortium representatives to educate and inform the industry, as well as the general public, about lead-free plumbing products. Lead content restrictions already are in effect in California, Louisiana, Maryland and Vermont. Those state laws prepared manufacturers like NIBCO to develop and expand lead-free products for drinking water applications. NIBCO offers a full selection of lead-free valves, fittings and flanges as part of its HydraPure brand. A plan to understand lead-free requirements will help ensure compliance with the nationwide mandates in 2014.
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