California Assembly Bill 1953, which calls for the reduction of lead content in plumbing pipes, fittings and fixtures to no more than 0.25%, passed the state House by one vote on May 31. The current law allows up to 8% lead for pipes and fittings and 4% for plumbing fittings and fixtures. If passed, the bill would take effect in 2010.

Shortly after its passage, the California Senate amended the bill in response to various misrepresentations that came to light after House passage. As of this writing, the bill was in suspension while California Assembly members evaluate the new information. The Senate may choose to vote on its amended bill in August. If it passes, the amended bill would have to be re-voted upon by the House.

The bill has been opposed by the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute (PMI), NSF, the Copper Development Association (CDA) and Non-Ferrous Founders' Society (NFFS), whose members include brass and bronze ingot manufacturers that supply most of the alloyed ingot to the plumbing manufacturing industry.

Opposition is based on a number of issues, the most striking of which is misinformation supplied by proponents of AB 1953 that led California lawmakers to believe faucets of various plumbing manufacturers already would comply with the new law. Top executives from Chicago Faucets, T&S Brass and Central Brass-whose products were cited as in compliance-all sent letters to the bill's author, Wilma Chan, assuring her this was not the case.

"AB 1953 proposes an unprecedented, artificially low standard that would prohibit virtually all faucets, valves and backflow preventers currently on the market,"