Washington, DC - Today, President Obama signed S. 3874, a bipartisan bill that will help eliminate lead from drinking water, into law. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and co-sponsored by Ranking Member, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), strengthens and clarifies standards to protect people from toxic lead in drinking water by uniformly reducing the allowable lead content in drinking water pipes, pipe fittings and plumbing fixtures.
Senator Boxer said: "Today is a great day. This is a major step forward in our fight to protect children and families from dangerous lead in drinking water. Toxic lead does not belong in our nation's water supply, and this law will help ensure that communities in California - and nationwide - have cleaner and safer drinking water."
Lead is a dangerous contaminant that can harm the nervous system and brain development, and is especially dangerous for pregnant women, infants and children. Currently, federal law allows plumbing fixtures that carry drinking water to have as much as 8 percent lead. Under the legislation, the standard will change so that the wetted surface of such plumbing cannot contain more than a weighted average of 0.25 percent lead.
The Senate unanimously passed the legislation on December 16, 2010, and the House passed S. 3874 the following day.
Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Russell Feingold (D-WI) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) are also cosponsors of the bill.
The legislation is supported by a broad coalition of industry, government and environmental organizations, including:
• American Water Works Association
• Association of California Water Agencies
• Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies
• Plumbing Manufacturers Institute
• WateReuse Association
• East Bay Municipal Utility District
• Natural Resources Defense Council
• San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
• Inland Empire Waters Agencies
In the House, Representative Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) introduced a companion bill, H.R. 5289, "Get the Lead Out." Rep. Eshoo's bill was incorporated as part of H.R. 5320, the Assistance, Quality, and Affordability Act of 2010 (AQUA), which passed the House on July 30, 2010.