Urgent action needed on newly released recommendation to review lead levels in plumbing products
16 April 2021
Master Plumbers welcomes today’s recommendation by the Ministry of Health to review current plumbing standards with regards to allowable lead levels in imported tapware and fittings.
The recommendation forms part of the Ministry’s review of the health system response to the lead contamination in Waikouaiti’s drinking water supply.
“Whilst the recommendation is a good one, New Zealand needs to move to lead-free tapware and brass fittings as a matter of urgency,” says Master Plumbers CEO Greg Wallace.
“Master Plumbers has been advocating for this for a number of years and it should not have taken a contamination event of this kind for action to be taken.”
Lead is a cumulative toxin, which makes ongoing exposure through drinking water is of particular concern. Young children are especially vulnerable, with even low levels of exposure linked to learning disabilities and nervous system damage.
“No level of lead is acceptable,” says Master Plumbers CEO Greg Wallace. “Other countries, including Australia, are moving to lead-free tapware and brass fittings, and New Zealand should be following suit.
“It is not enough to tell homeowners to run the tap before drinking if the water has been sitting for a while, as the Health Ministry’s advice currently stands.”
The Health Ministry has indicated that the new national drinking water regulator Taumata Arowai will be best placed to take account of the recommendations once the Water Services Bill is enacted.