May 20, 2010--House subcommittee passes bill restricting lead in water fixtures (Washington Post)

The legislation would prohibit manufacturers from using all but a tiny fraction of lead in making or selling water faucets and fixtures. Tainted water is estimated to count for up 20 percent of human lead exposure, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. People who ingest significant amounts of lead can suffer from brain damage, hearing damage and developmental delays, with fetuses and young children being the most vulnerable to lifelong problems. The Safe Drinking Water Act, which determines the lead content of plumbing materials, now allows up to 8 percent of lead content in faucets and fixtures. This proposed legislation, written by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) of the committee, would cut that amount to 0.25 percent. The legislation is expected move to the full Energy and Commerce Committee for further consideration. "The only safe lead exposure is no exposure, but right now faucets across the country are routinely and legally slipping lead into the water our children drink," Eshoo said. "In the 21st century when we have so many safe alternatives, it's unacceptable to continue to expose children and families to this health hazard." Economists estimate the health impact of human lead exposure costs more than $43 billion annually in lost time at work, health-care costs and related expenses.

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