Matt Dempsey (EPW/Inhofe) (202) 224-9797

Peter Rafle (EPW/Boxer) (202) 302-7086 cell

Kate Gilman (EPW/Boxer) (202) 207-8639 cell

Senate Passes Bipartisan Legislation to Help Eliminate Dangerous Lead in Drinking Water

Link to S. 3874

Washington, DC - Today, the Senate unanimously 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). 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: "I am so pleased that the Senate has acted to pass this important piece of bipartisan legislation today that will help protect our children and families from dangerous lead. Lead - a toxic heavy metal - does not belong in our drinking water. This is a major step forward in the effort to eliminate lead in our drinking water."

Senator Inhofe said: "It isn't often that Senator Boxer and I agree on legislation. Yet in this case, we did. Here is an opportunity to pass a bill that will help further decrease the amount of lead in water without imposing a burden on America's manufacturers."

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 Senate 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), Kristen 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.

S. 3874 will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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