Washington, DC - Today, the House of Representatives passed S. 3874, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Ranking Member, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) with a vote of 226 to 109. The Senate unanimously passed the legislation yesterday and the bill will now go to the President for his signature. The legislation 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: "This is wonderful news. I am so pleased that both the House and Senate have passed this important legislation. It is our responsibility on the Senate Environment Committee to take actions that protect our environment and protect the health of our children. By sending this bill to the President today for his signature, we are protecting our children and families from dangerous lead in 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 that passed through the House today, the standard will change so that the wetted surface of such plumbing cannot contain more than a weighted average of 0.25 percent lead.
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.
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.
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