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I've spent the last couple of weeks replacing my copper hydronic heat in the house. I'm now a convert to PEX and SharkBite connectors.

I had to run out tonight to Home Depot to pick up one more connector and got back and realized there was an odd statement on the tag:

Note: It is illegal to sell this product in California and Vermont

Anyone know why this is? I did some Googling and found these theories from various places:

  • CA has a powerful plumbing lobby and they don't like homeowners having access to easier products
  • CA has strict anti-lead legislation where many brass fixtures still contain a percentage of lead

Both sound plausible and perhaps they're both true. Anyone know the actual reason?

share|improve this question
I would have guessed it was the lead theory but I have no sources to back that up. – auujay Oct 28 '11 at 1:22
I don't have personal experience with them, but my understanding is that they were designed for temporary usage (that may no longer be the case). So it may be to protect home owners from having a temporary product installed and having it fail when the contractor is long gone. – BMitch Oct 28 '11 at 1:42
CA may disagree, but I'm nearly positive these are up to code nearly everywhere for permanent connections. I think some regions don't permit them behind walls without an access panel, though. – DA01 Oct 28 '11 at 1:48
Lead and earthquake survivability – Fiasco Labs Aug 13 '12 at 15:48
up vote 14 down vote accepted

It must be the lead, because http://www.sharkbiteplumbing.com/lead-free-fittings is advertising lead free fittings and leads with this line:

As of January 1, 2010, changes to California and Vermont laws prohibit selling any pipe, fitting, or fixture that is intended to dispense or convey drinking water and that has a weighted average lead content of more than 0.25% based on a wetted surface area calculation.

I would have expected another sentence in there saying "and these are lead free so it's fine" but there isn't that, just a bunch of pictures of individual fittings.

share|improve this answer
Sounds about right. I think the issue is the term 'lead free' probably has different meanings inside and outside of CA. I think in CA, they literally mean 'no lead at all' while other states likely allow a minimum amount. I have to assume SharkBite is working on fixing that given the size of the CA market. – DA01 Oct 28 '11 at 2:42
It is definitely because of the lead. However, Sharkbite have came out with lead-free fittings which are fine in both states. – user4583 Dec 13 '11 at 16:29
The Sharkbite shipping webpage sharkbiteplumbing.com/shipping has a notice for California and Vermont residents about items not AB1953 Compliant (Lead Free). – RSMoser Dec 13 '11 at 19:52
Actually, I am not sure its just lead. While AB1953 is only a california's law that requires "lead free" to be less than 0.25, but as of Jan 04 2014 there is a national law requiring the same, but SharkBite fittings remained banned there, but acceptable elsewhere watts.com/LeadFree – Eddie Sep 13 '14 at 20:12

protected by BMitch Aug 13 '12 at 11:32

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