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It’s Time To Stop Metals Leaching Into New Zealand’s Drinking Water - Master Plumbers

Master Plumbers is urging the Government to stop sitting on its hands over a serious public health issue which sees harmful metals leaching into drinking water.

The renewed call for action follows today’s release of findings from a study led by Massey University which show metals leaching from household taps can be far in excess of acceptable limits in New Zealand drinking-water standards.

These latest results back up findings from an earlier independent tapware test commissioned by Master Plumbers in 2018. At that time, Master Plumbers presented the findings to Government, and called for tougher plumbing product regulations

CEO Greg Wallace says the Government can’t afford to ignore this issue any longer as it raises serious health issues.

"It’s disheartening that we are back here two years later saying the same thing - New Zealanders should be able to drink tap water without worrying about consuming metals."

The last study found levels of lead leaching from a tap purchased online to be 70 percent higher than the allowable limit, he says.

"Lead is toxic and can cause profound and permanent adverse health effects-with young children being particularly vulnerable."

This research compared contamination levels of five different trace metals in drinking water from certified and non-certified basin and kitchen taps over a 14-day period-with lead being of particular public health concern.

Lead concentrations from the non-certified basin tap were consistently higher than other tapware in the test, whilst zinc levels from the non-certified kitchen tap were 7.5 times higher than acceptable limits.

Greg Wallace says Master Plumbers also continues to lobby for a mandatory plumbing products scheme in New Zealand, similar to Australia’s WaterMark. This would mean the law would require all products coming into contact with drinking water to be tested and certified before being sold in store or online to unsuspecting buyers.

He says while most reputable New Zealand tapware manufacturers already choose to comply with WaterMark, it is voluntary to do so.

"It is vital for the public to have greater protection and the way to achieve this is to have a compulsory scheme that is monitored. If there is no regular monitoring, how can New Zealanders be sure it is safe to drink from the tapware in their homes?"

He says as part of its current building reforms the Government is proposing new minimum public information requirements for all building products sold in New Zealand.

"This is a step in the right direction, but we don’t believe it goes far enough. Any scheme must require a certain percentage of plumbing products to be tested by the regulator each year, and penalties imposed on suppliers that don’t comply," he says.

More information about the study's findings can be found here.

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