About Us News Oct. 2021

Governor Newsom Signs Legislation That Will Reduce Lead Exposure in Drinking Water

Friday, October 8, 2021

Sacramento, CA – Today, Governor Newsom signed AB 100, authored by Assemblymember Chris Holden that will ban the manufacture and sale in California of water faucets and fixtures that leach excess lead. 

“It is unacceptable that our kids are still exposed to lead in the drinking water at home or in our schools and childcare centers,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden. “With today’s signing, I am proud that California is once again leading the nation by requiring all water faucets and fixtures to become essentially lead-free and keeping our children as safe as possible.”

Lead is a severe neurotoxin that damages the brains and central nervous systems of young children. Lead is also a carcinogen and harms organs. Low levels of lead in children cause IQ loss, learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and impaired hearing.

Currently, consumers have no idea when they go to a hardware store if the faucet they buy is safe or not. Faucets can leach lead when they are used. The new law will restrict the amount of lead leaching from faucets and fixtures to no more than one microgram, which is five times lower than the current industry standard.

“Californians want to drink lead-free water, and they want to protect their children from lead exposure,” said Susan Little, EWG’s Senior Advocate for California Government Affairs. “This new law will ensure that California schools and child care centers can purchase faucets and plumbing fixtures that leach as little lead as possible -- as soon as possible."

"Public health agencies are unanimous that there is no safe level of lead for our children, so faucets that leach lead into our drinking have no place in California,” said Jenn Engstrom, State Director for CALPIRG. Thanks to Governor Newsom and Assemblymember Holden, parents can rest assured drinking faucets and fixtures sold in our state will be practically lead-free."

California has been working on lead remediation for years. In 2017, the state legislature passed Assembly Bill 746, which mandated that public water utilities sample and test for lead in public schools’ tap water. Since then, the state budget has allocated funds to upgrade drinking-water plumbing schools and childcare centers.

Assemblymember Holden’s 2018 bill, AB 2370, requires child care centers to also test their drinking water for lead and to lower those levels if lead is found.  The state will be spending $5 million of its own funds to pay for child care centers’ lead testing.  AB 100 makes it easier now for centers to get all lead out of child care centers’ drinking water.

Source: California State Assembly Democratic Caucus