WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 5, 2011 -- Last night President Obama signed S. 3874, the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act, legislation written by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) to remove the serious health threat and economic burden caused by lead exposure from household water sources. Small amounts of exposure can have serious health impacts, particularly on children, including kidney disease, reduced IQ, hypertension, hearing loss, and brain damage. Lead-related illness also costs an estimated $43 billion annually in lost wages and health expenditures, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
"Clean water is one of the most basic services we expect in our country, but every day families across the country consume lead when they drink water from their faucets," Rep. Eshoo said. "In 21st century America, families have a right to clean water in their homes. Lead-free plumbing is an existing alternative, it's affordable, and now it will be the standard across the nation, because it is the law."
The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act effectively eliminates the health threat of lead exposure by reducing the allowable lead in plumbing faucets and fixtures from 8% to 0.25%. The bill is based on a successful 2006 California law, A.B. 1953, which required manufacturers to phase out potential exposure from materials in drinking water plumbing by 2010. The legislation received broad support from state health officials, numerous children's health organizations, prominent national environmental organizations, local governments, scientific associations, national drinking water associations, and plumbing manufacturers.