The Maryland House of Representatives recently introduced HB 357, Business Occupations and Professions - Plumbers - Lead-Free Materials, which requires that materials used in the installation or repair of plumbing intended to dispense water for human consumption be lead-free.

Lead-freeis defined in the bill as containing not more than a weighted average lead content of 0.25 percent for the wetted surfaces of pipe, pipefittings, plumbing fittings or fixtures; 0.2 percent lead for solder and flux; 4 percent lead by dry weight for plumbing fittings and fixtures; and 8 percent lead by dry weight for pipe and pipefittings.

The bill prohibits the sale of pipe and other plumbing supplies if they are not lead-free and are intended for use with water for human consumption. Sale of solder or flux that is not lead-free is permitted if it carries a label indicating that it is not for use with water intended for human consumption.

The Maryland bill is similar to lead-free plumbing legislation enacted last year in California. A hearing on the bill is scheduled today.

If enacted, the legislation would be effective Jan. 1, 2011.