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  • Writer's picturePippa Lee

Faucets: how to find 100% lead-free and non-toxic tapware


non toxic faucets

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While most healthy home advocates understand the critical importance of filtering your home's water, not many also pay attention to the pipes and tap-ware the clean water travels through. Water that flows through faucets containing toxic chemicals can become contaminated (even if previously filtered), especially at high temperatures (source).

And while many countries including Australia and the USA have laws around the amount of lead allowed within plumbing fixtures, there is still a small amount allowed, also compounded by the fact that there is a misleading certification for faucets, labelled 'lead-free', which actually allows up to 0.25% lead content.

The only way to ensure you have a toxin-free faucet, is to search out 100% lead-free.


Toxins in Faucets

Many of us focus on the source of our water and overlook potential toxins within our faucets. Water can pick up contaminants from your home's plumbing and fixtures. Key toxins found in faucets include:


Lead: Despite federal regulations, many faucets still contain lead. No amount of lead is safe, as it accumulates in the body, posing significant health risks, particularly to children.


Pathogens: Bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens can thrive on and around faucets, contaminating the water you use.


PVC Toxins: Polyvinyl chloride, used in some faucet components, can leach toxins into water, especially when hot water is used.


Why is this a problem?

Faucets containing lead are particularly dangerous due to the risk of lead poisoning. Lead can leach into the water from faucets, especially when the water is acidic or hot.


Consuming or using lead-contaminated water can lead to serious health concerns, and children are more susceptible to lead poisoning because their bodies absorb lead more readily than adults, with their developing brains and nervous systems are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of lead (source).


Lead exposure in children can cause developmental delays, learning difficulties, irritability, weight loss, fatigue, abdominal pain, vomiting, hearing loss, and even seizures (source). Long-term exposure can result in permanent cognitive and behavioral issues (source).


Lead accumulates in the body over time, so even small amounts ingested regularly can add up to dangerous levels (source). This poses significant health risks. Therefore, it's crucial to avoid using faucets and plumbing materials that contain lead, especially in environments where children are present.


Do I need to panic?

Deciding whether to replace a faucet depends on several factors:


Drinking Water: If the faucet is used for drinking water, it’s crucial to ensure it’s toxin-free. If you're uncertain about your kitchen faucet's safety and use it for food preparation or cooking, consider replacing it.


Bathroom Faucets: While we don't drink or cook with the bathroom tap, we do brush teeth and rinse our mouth, so while it may not be priority #1, it should be on the list of jobs to tick off on your healthy home journey. In the meantime, use filtered water for brushing teeth or rinsing.


Shower Faucets: Consider replacing these too, if feasible, although these would be furthest down the list of priorities.


non toxic taps

Wait, why isn't lead regulated?

In Australia, the 2022 edition of the National Construction Code (NCC) set new limits on the allowable lead content in plumbing products used for drinking water. Starting from 1 May 2026, copper alloy plumbing products with more than 0.25% lead will not be authorised for installation in systems that deliver drinking water (source),


The reason for this new limit is due to finding found in a Macquarie University report, which found that there is a risk of lead leaching from copper alloy plumbing products used with drinking water. Following the Report, the ABCB (Australian Building Codes Board) opted to decrease the allowable lead levels in specific plumbing products.


From the 1st May 2026, plumbing products must comply with relevant Australian Standards and may require certification to demonstrate compliance with health and safety requirements, including limits on lead content. "Water-mark Certified" will mean under 0.25% lead, which is a 'better' option, however too find true non-toxic tap-ware, look for 100% lead-free


In the United States, regulations regarding lead in faucets are primarily governed by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And as per Australia, in the States, "lead-free" also means the faucets and plumbing fittings must have a weighted average lead content of no more than 0.25% when used with respect to wetted surfaces.


Faucets and plumbing fittings intended for use in drinking water systems must comply with NSF/ANSI Standard 61, which sets the criteria for product safety, including maximum allowable levels of lead and other contaminants. The regulations have been phased in over time, with different deadlines for compliance.

lead-free faucets


What to Look for When Replacing Your Faucet

When selecting a new faucet, consider the following:


Waterway Material: The material in direct contact with water is crucial. Look for non-toxic options.


100% Lead-Free: Ensure the faucet is truly 100% lead-free, as some labeled "lead-free" can still contain up to 0.25% lead.


Certifications (USA): Look for NSF/ANSI/CAN 61 certification, which indicates low levels of lead.


Certifications (Aus): Look for Lead Free WaterMark, which indicated lead level below 0.25% (all faucets will be required to be below these levels by May 1, 2026)


Stainless Steel: This is the best material for a non-toxic faucet. Avoid brass, as it often contains lead.


How to Replace a Faucet in a Healthier Way

When replacing a faucet, ensure all materials used are free from toxins. Whether hiring a plumber or doing it yourself, specify or provide these materials:


Australia:


USA:


My final thoughts?

In a study, twelve faucets, varying in design, materials, and manufacturers, were tested in a laboratory to gather more data on lead and other metal leaching from common kitchen faucets, it revealed that new cast-brass faucets could contribute lead to drinking water levels exceeding the proposed no-action level of 10 μg/L.


The silver lining to this news is, the study found that 60-75% of the lead leached from a faucet appeared in the first 125 mL of water collected, and after 200-250 mL of water flow, 95% or more of the lead was typically flushed out.


So one of the easiest things to do to safeguard yourself and your family before you have a chance to swap over your tap-ware is to simply run your taps before drinking from them, especially if there has been standing water in the tap, like overnight for example.


And finally, replacing faucets doesn’t always mean removing perfectly good ones immediately. But when the time comes, choosing a low-toxin approach helps maintain a healthy home, supporting your overall well-being.



Happy Drinking!


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