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New Zealand Plumbers, Drainlayers & Gasfitters Association Inc

New Zealand Plumbers, Drainlayers & Gasfitters
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Latest News / Ban on lead in drinking water plumbing needed - environmental expert

18th April 2021 - RNZ

Lead should be phased out of plumbing for drinking water in New Zealand, an environmental expert says.

Photo: 123RF

The call comes on the heel of a Ministry of Health report into lead contamination found in East Otago drinking water supplies.

The report, released at the end of March, says better regulation is needed for drinking water, and also recommends a review of plumbing standards for lead in taps and pipe fittings.

The East Otago contamination, where lead levels tested as high as almost 40 times the acceptable limit for drinking water, is still being investigated, but household taps and pipe fittings containing lead are widely used throughout this country.

University of Canterbury director of environmental science Sally Gaw said there should be no lead in taps for drinking water, and it was important the review into plumbing standards is done.

"Lead is a neurotoxin, it's not great at all for young children or babies to be drinking water that contains lead. [Only] a very low level of exposure to lead is considered to be safe - if at all," professor Gaw said. read more

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