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How Does the Safe Water Drinking Act Affect Emergency Eyewashes and Showers?


The question comes up often… “How does the Safe Water Drinking Act (SWDA) Section 1417, which prohibits the use of certain items that are not lead free, affect emergency eyewashes and showers?”

Since 1996, the Act has made it unlawful for anyone to introduce into commerce items that are not lead free.

The 2011 Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act revised Section 1417, redefining the maximum lead content of plumbing products such as pipes, pipe fittings and plumbing fixtures from 8.0% to an average of .25%.

 

SWDA and Emergency Equipment Exemption

  • Emergency eyewash devices or emergency drench showers are not subject to the prohibitions in Section 1417 of the Safe Drinking Water Act whether they are separate devices or single units that combine an emergency drench shower and emergency eyewash devices, either with or without dedicated piping.
  • An eyewash device and its dedicated piping would be exempt under Section 1417(a)(4)(A) because it is used exclusively for services that are considered nonpotable for purposes of Section 1417 of SDWA – eye washing.

It is plainly not the purpose of the devices and therefore the mere possibility of misuse would not subject them to the new definition of lead free in Section 1417.

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