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New Drinking Water Directives24.09.2012
Changes to European legislation

 

As you may or may not already be aware, there are going to be significant changes and amendments to the drinking water legislations that will affect suppliers of brass components into both the European and USA markets(As a significant manufacturer of brass components we would like to advise regarding these changes).

While our primary objective is to provide you with quality precision parts and a level of customer service unmatched by our competitors, Currie & Warner also places a strong emphasis on social responsibility. With increasing health concerns and government regulations regarding the use of lead in brass components, Currie & Warner manufacturer lead free brass with excellent success. Because of the health risks associated with lead poisoning, lead free brass is an excellent alternative for water supply devices, valves, and fittings to name a few.

The main focus of the new directive is to limit the lead content within the raw material itself. Over a number of years brass mills have been developing new compositions resulting in them being able to reduce the percentage of lead within the bar stock itself. A Japanese company Mitsubishi Shindoh Co. has developed a brass replacing the lead content with silicone (Eco Brass). Eco brass is environmentally friendly but is also an alloy that has excellent machineability a bonus feature is the high tensile strength, enabling components traditionally made from stainless steel to now be made from Eco Brass. 


Why The Change ???

DZR or Dezinification Resistant copper alloys have a lead content of around 2%. Since lead has a lower melting point than the other constituents of the brass, it tends to migrate towards the grain boundaries in the form of globules as it cools from casting. The pattern the globules form on the surface of the brass increases the available lead surface area which in turn affects the degree of leaching. In addition, cutting operations can smear the lead globules over the surface. These effects can lead to significant lead leaching from brasses of comparatively low lead content.

Lead-free or Ecobrass copper alloys have a lead content of less than 0.1% and therefore meet with all hygiene requirements worldwide. Legislative pressure to reduce or remove the lead content from Brasses particularly in water fittings (and especially from drinking water fittings and systems) has produced an increased demand for these low, or lead free products. Demand for these products seems certain to gain momentum especially for the USA and European markets . The special brass is characterised by a combination of excellent processing properties and high corrosion resistance. Compared to conventional forms of brass it exhibits a much higher strength.

Potential Applications For Lead-free (Ecobrass)

>  Drinking water application

>  Fire protection devices

>  Automotive parts: lead-free requirements

>  European electrical/electronic parts: lead-free requirements

Summary for Europe

>  Upper limit in the EU for the level of lead in drinking water will be 10µg/l measured at the tap. This will be effective as of 01/12/2013

>  With the tightening of the lead limit in drinking water the brass alloy CW602N-CuZn36Pb2As (CZ132/DZR) will not be allowed in such applications after 01/12/2013 due to high lead leaching

>  Upper limit for lead in brass is as follows:

 

<= 3.5% lead for components with less than 1% water contact

<= 2.2% lead for components with less than 10% water contact

Summary for USA

>  You can only use alloys for drinking water applications with a weighted average lead content of 0.25% effective from 01/01/2014. Five states have already limited the lead content accordingly

>  Brass fittings for plastic pipe fittings have to be dezincification resistant

 


 

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