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President Signs Drinking Water Lead Reduction Law


With pen in hand, President Barack Obama sits at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office as Staff Secretary Lisa Brown organizes a stack of 35 bills for him to sign into law, Jan. 4, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

On Jan. 4, 2011, President Obama signed legislation that will significantly reduce the permissible amount of lead in drinking water.
 
Known as the "Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act," the bill will cut the amount of lead that is acceptable in plumbing fixtures carrying drinking water to 0.25 percent. The law will go into effect in 36 months.

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."
 
"The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act" unanimously passed in the Senate December 16, 2010, and was approved the House following day.

Lead in drinking water has been linked to such health problems in children as delayed physical and mental development, and slight deficits in attention span and learning abilities, and increased blood pressure and kidney problems in adults.
 
Lead found in drinking water typically does not come from the source, but rather from lead pipes, fixtures and solder that were used into the 1980s. The national standard, which is laid out in the "Safe Drinking Water Act," is 8 percent, but states are permitted to adopt stricter measures. Two states - California and Vermont - have enacted such legislation. In fact, the bill passed closely mirrors California's law, AB 1953, which was passed in 2006 and took effect Jan. 1, 2010.

"It is an exciting victory, primarily for consumers, and also for the plumbing manufacturing industry, as well as for wholesalers, retailers, contractors and others involved with the production, distribution, sales and installation of these products," said PMI Executive Director Barbara Higgens.
 
"In 21st century America, we have a responsibility to do more to protect our children and families against the lead exposure acquired through plumbing systems," said U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., who authored the legislation in the House. "Lead-free plumbing is an existing alternative, it's affordable, and it's time we adopt it across the nation."



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