Posted on 17 March 2020
Plumbing system for safer drinking water
Water is the most precious element to human life; an essential nutrient for our health and well-being. Everybody has the right to clean water and this is what drives REHAU’s commitment to create innovative and sustainable plumbing systems to deliver safe, clean drinking water to the community. In Australia, the availability of clean, fresh drinking water is generally taken for granted. Although, for a number of years now, there has been a growing concern regarding the purity of our drinking water due to reports of compromised water quality in some buildings. Recent recordings of elevated lead level in drinking water from Australian taps has resulted in more serious discussions regarding the importance of tighter regulations on plumbing materials and design. It is widely known that many components that make up the water supply networks in our homes and business are made of DZR brass. Yet, it is not widely understood that these brass components contain varying concentrations of lead. Lead gives brass some valuable properties for the production process including machinability and malleability making it more cost effective to produce. Nevertheless, when consumed it is extremely harmful to human health.
The current Australian standard stipulates a maximum lead content of all wetted brass components to be 4.5% however, this is rarely checked or enforced. While it is unlikely for these trace levels of lead to leach into the water source, in some extreme environments or water types this can occur. Studies have shown that in some regions in Australia, lead levels in water has been recorded to be well above the 10 micrograms per litre benchmark established by the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. In Germany and the USA more stringent lead content regulations have been in place for many years to reduce the risk of lead contamination, driving manufacturers to develop low lead or lead-free solutions. In the US, for example, lead concentration in DZR brass plumbing components is limited to 0.25%. While these strict controls are not yet in place in Australia the growing concern from consumers and authorities is pushing regulators to consider this. As per the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), established by the federal law in the US, Section 1417 defines "lead-free" as a weighted average of 0.25% lead calculated across the wetted surfaces of a pipe, pipe fitting, plumbing fitting, and fixture and 0.2% lead for solder and flux.
The term Lead-free is defined in Section 1417 of the Safe Drinking Water Act as a material with a weighted average of 0.25% lead or less calculated across the wetted surfaces of a pipe, pipe fitting, plumbing fitting, and fixture. This is a US Standard and is used in the absence of an Aus/NZ Standard covering the topic.
Through REHAU’s commitment to help people consume the cleanest and purest water possible, REHAU ANZ has introduced the first Lead-Free PE-X plumbing range to Australia and New Zealand. REHAU’s Lead-Free RAUTITAN consists of our renowned premium quality, high flexibility PE-Xa PN20 pipe (zero lead) combined with PVDF PXsr (zero lead) polymer fittings, Lead-Free Gunmetal (RX+) fittings and PX polymer sleeves (zero lead) to create the safest and healthiest plumbing system on the planet.
PE-Xa RAUTITAN Pipe
With 50 years of experience in PE-Xa pipe production REHAU has perfected the process of creating the highest quality pipe with the ideal properties for plumbing applications. PE-Xa pipe is naturally zero lead and has been specifically treated to ensure optimal flexibility, toughness and cleanliness to deliver pure, taste and odour-free water to the end user. Available in sizes from 16mm to 63mm for various applications including domestic hot and cold water, rainwater, recycled water and hydronic heating, REHAU’s PE-Xa piping system is the ultimate choice for hygiene and sustainability.
PVDF PXsr Polymer Fittings
PXsr solvent resistant fittings are made from PVDF material, which is zero lead and supremely hygienic. Available in non-threaded fittings in sizes 16-20mm, PXsr fittings are 5 times lighter than brass meaning you can carry more and get the job done faster. They are corrosion proof and zero lead so they do not deteriorate over time, suffer oxide buildup or leach lead into the water making them safer for the community. PVDF is the same material as the PX sleeve and has proven over many years of incident-free operations to be highly resistant to environmental stress cracking when in contact with solvents commonly used on building sites, providing greater peace-of-mind for the plumber.
Gunmetal (RX+) Fittings
RX+ fittings are made of a high quality low-lead bronze, also known as Red Brass or Gunmetal. They have a maximum lead content of 0.1% and Dezincification-resistant, exceeding the most stringent international standard for low-lead drinking water systems.
PX Polymer Sleeves
While compression sleeves are never in contact with water and therefore not covered by international low-lead regulation PVDF PX sleeves are zero lead. They are available in sizes 16 to 40mm for use with REHAU water, gas and heating piping systems. They are lightweight, faster to install and completely secure making them the ideal material for compression sleeve jointed applications.
Stagnant water in pipes (dead-legs) is known to facilitate the reproduction of bacteria and Legionella growth, which can cause health problems, commonly known as Legionnaires' disease. While guidelines exist in the Australian Plumbing Code to help minimise the risks, it can often be quite difficult to design a system that eliminates dead legs. REHAU's Gunmetal U-bend fittings are a unique concept purposely made to tackle this problem; minimizing dead-legs and allowing water to flow through plumbing fixtures even if they are not being used frequently. The U-bends reduce the risk of legionella growth facilitating the delivery of safer and cleaner water for the community.
With Lead-Free PE-X piping system now available in Australia and New Zealand the question arises, status quo or Lead-Free RAUTITAN? The choice is yours.