Lead in the Water: Which Taps are Safe?
Up to fifteen times over the safe limit. That’s how much lead was discovered to be pouring out of the tapware in some 12,000 Australian households a few months ago.
The ‘Spiral Spring Mixer’ taps were sold by big box retailer Aldi and the story made headlines nationwide, creating a PR disaster, a national health scare, and forcing the store to swiftly recall the product.
Aldi has now re-tested its product (internally) and swears that it’s safe for use.
This may make some feel better, but it’s a bit of a worry that the same taps were “independently tested and confirmed to comply with Australian standards prior to going on sale.” (choice.com.au).
At any rate, the situation has got a lot of Australians asking themselves “is my tapware safe?”
Are Australian Taps Safe?
You might not like the answer.
After Aldi’s disaster, it’s become common knowledge that in general, they’re not.
Paul Harvey, a researcher in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Macquarie University was quoted as saying:
“Our data shows that new taps in Australia are generally non-compliant for lead concentrations at the time of installation and this is reflected in the elevated concentrations of lead in drinking water at kitchen taps across the country.”
Harvey went on to say that:
“[Australian] Consumers can readily purchase off the shelf products that contain very high concentrations of lead, up to 4.5 per cent, compared to the maximum allowable USA value of 0.25 per cent, with no warning labels or indication of potential hazards.”
The problem goes beyond household use, too. Right here in Perth, construction on the Children’s Hospital has ground to a halt because 1200 Thermostatic mixing valves are pumping out high levels of lead.
So it appears that the situation is this:
- There are a lot of taps out there, for both residential and construction/commercial use, that exceed the normal levels of lead.
- There are no warning labels on them, there is no real measure of control over their sale just yet, and
- Brass tap fittings are the most likely ones to leach lead into your water
- …but unless you have a lead testing kit, it’s hard to tell which taps are safe
Which brings us to the next question:
What Taps Can you Trust?
We wish we could give you a long list of taps you can trust, but honestly, we don’t know which ones have been officially tested and which haven’t.
The truth is that the only tapware we can vouch for with surety is our own.
Our line of tapware is safe. It’s designed in Australia to our own stringent specifications, drawn from our 30 plus years of Australian manufacturing experience. It’s built to government standards, and you can trust your health (and our reputation) on it.
In fact, we’re so confident in our products that we offer a money-back guarantee AND a no-excuses 5-year warranty on not just taps but everything we sell (we do shower heads, bath spouts, drains and waste fittings, and a few other bits like heated towel ladders).
So, while the list isn’t long, and it’s only our products, here are some taps you can trust:
(They are easy to DIY install, guaranteed to fit your existing tapware, and available in Bunnings OR delivered Australia-wide).