HPAC Magazine

The Lowdown On Low Lead

December 1, 2013 | By PATRICK CALLAN

CIPH's Ontario meeting focuses on low lead changes, coordinating Canada-U.S. stand.

With major reductions to acceptable lead levels inpotable water set to take effect in North America in January 2014, the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating (CIPH) provided an update and some clarity on the situation at its Ontario Region Business Meeting. Held on October 25 at the Mississauga Convention Centre, the full-day meeting consisted of a low lead industry forum panel, a workshop for CIPH’s Young Executive Society (YES) and a presentation from the CEO of the Standards Council of Canada.

Ninety people attended the low lead industry forum panel, and dozens more tuned in for the online webinar, featuring Kevin Ernst, general manager at Oakville Stamping & Bending Ltd. and the chairman of CSA B125 technical committee, Joseph Rogers from the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Thomas Husebye, vice-president of marketing for Dahl Brothers Canada Ltd. and Al Hook from Wolseley Canada.

The panel looked at the impact the Safe Drinking Water Act (coming into effect in the U.S. on January 4, 2014) and the new low lead requirements in Canada (being adopted by various provinces across Canada beginning January 1 2014) will have on all aspects of the plumbing industry. In both countries, the changes will require lead levels to be reduced from eight to 0.25 per cent for fittings intended for use for human consumption through drinking or cooking.

To meet the new low lead requirements, all manufacturers who are certified to ASME A112.18.1/CSA B125.1 or CSA B125.3 will have to be recertified by their certification body by December 31, 2013. As of January 1, 2014 manufacturers will no longer be able to produce certified products that do not meet the new low lead requirements in the two standards.

Under B125.1 this will affect drinking fountain supply fittings; kitchen, sink and lavatory fittings and supply stops up to one inch. Under B125.3 this will affect automatic compensating valves other than those for individual wall-mounted showering systems, supply line stops up to one inch and temperature actuated in-line mixing valves.

In Ontario, a recent minister’s ruling included the low lead requirements to its 2012 Building Code, which takes effect on January 1, 2014. However, because of a transition rule any building permit applied for before January 1, 2014 still follows the 2006 Building Code but construction will have to start within six months from when the permit is issued. Building permits applied for after January 1, 2014 will have to comply with the updated 2012 code, which includes the low lead requirements.

The two low lead standards are expected to be updated in the National Plumbing Code by the end of 2013 or early 2014, and the rest of the provinces and territories are in the process of working towards adopting those changes.

A recent CIPH poll showed that most provinces are expected to have adopted the low lead requirements by June 2014.  The poll also indicated that 30 per cent of manufacturers and wholesalers plan to carry double inventory of regular and lead free brass products during the six-month transition phase.

The meeting’s main speaker – John Walter, CEO of the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) – presented on what is being done to coordinate standards between Canada and the U.S.

The total cost of product testing and certification compliance for the North American plumbing and heating industry is between $3.2 to $4.5 billion per year.  And since only about 10 per cent of referenced standards are currently bilaterally harmonized, duplicate testing and certification ends up costing Canadian consumers from $120 to $150 million each year.

To address this issue, CIPH and Electro-Federation Canada took a leading role by developing value propositions to quantify costs of duplicative requirements, and then organized two consultation sessions earlier this year (one in the U.S., one in Canada) to raise awareness about the findings. These efforts have led to the creation of pilot projects between the SCC and the American National Standards Institute to facilitate joint Canada-U.S standards in the electro-technical and plumbing/heating sectors.

The projects are expected to begin in 2014. <>

Engaging Young Executives

While the low lead forum was taking place, about 25 members of CIPH’s Young Executive Society (YES) gathered for the Juggling Multiple Projects workshop led by Michael Stefanovic, senior consultant for World Class Productivity. The YES program, which represents the interests of people aged 40 and under in the plumbing, industrial PVF, waterworks and hydronic heating industry, was also recognized as CIPH’s program of the year during the meeting. www.ciph.com


CIPH’s next Ontario Region meeting will be held on January 16, 2014. It will focus on the economic outlook for Canada, featuring a presentation from personal finance expert Preet Banerjee. Banerjee is host of the television show Million Dollar Neighbourhood on the Oprah Winfrey Network. For more information, visit www.ciph.com.




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