How Does NSF Standard 61, Section 9 Relate to the Definition of Lead-Free?


Quick Answer

NSF Standard 61, Section 9 is the standard adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of the Safe Drinking Water Act's requirements for lead-free plumbing fixtures that dispense water for human consumption, according to the EPA. Standard 61 is titled "Drinking Water System Components – Health Effects."

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The Safe Drinking Water Act prohibits the use of pipes, fittings, fixtures, solder and flux that are not lead free in any installation or repair of plumbing in public water systems, residential locations and non-residential facilities that provide human drinking water, reports the EPA. Section 1417(e) of the Safe Drinking Water Act defines "lead free" as it relates to endpoint devices. The EPA adopted NSF Standard 61, Section 9 as the standard for this section.

NSF Standard 61, Section 9 requires plumbing fittings or fixtures designed for dispensing water for human consumption meet specific performance-based standards, explains NSF International. Compliance is required by North American manufacturers of faucets, water dispensers, drinking fountains, water coolers, residential refrigerator ice makers and control valves, among other fixtures. The standard is intended to limit the leaching of lead into water.

In addition to compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act's restriction that plumbing and related materials contain less than 8 percent lead, endpoint devices specifically covered by NSF Standard 61, Section 9 also must meet the performance requirements for the allowable amount of lead that is leached into the water by the products, notes the EPA.

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