No Lead? Low-lead? Lead-free? They all mean the same thing, and they refer to the following: the federal Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act that went into effect in January 2014. This new law redefines “lead-free” under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) of 1974, to further restrict permissible levels of lead in drinking water.
The new law states, “not more than a weighted average of 0.25% (lead) when used with respect to the wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings and fixtures.” The old SDWA said, “…pipes and fittings were limited to not more than 8.0% lead". Resultingly, there actually can be some lead, although minimal, in “lead-free” products.
In summary, you will see a variety of logos and wording used in lead free products, marketing and specifications. So don't worry, as long as the products you install in potable water applications meet the new requirements and have some kind of low lead indication, your job will be in compliance!
On another note, if you're wondering about soldering nuiances of low-lead brass, we've got a nice little video clip featuring "Hot Rod" Rohr demonstrating the subtle how-tos. Check it out!
Thanks for reading,