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?

  • 1
    I would have guessed it was the lead theory but I have no sources to back that up.
    – auujay
    Oct 28, 2011 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, 2011 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, 2011 at 1:48
  • Lead and earthquake survivability Aug 13, 2012 at 15:48
  • The first theory actually sounds ridiculous. "Let's make it harder for homeowners so that the probability of improper installation is higher" is the exact opposite of what anybody would want. I'm pretty sure that wouldn't be the reason.
    – Octopus
    Jan 17, 2017 at 20:42

2 Answers 2


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.

  • 2
    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, 2011 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, 2011 at 16:29
  • 1
    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, 2011 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, 2014 at 20:12

Perhaps lead was an issue in the past, but it seems no longer. The manufacturer website says that their fittings are almost all lead free. For example,
"SharkBite Push-to-Connect Fittings
The SharkBite push-to-connect range is made from Lead Free DZR Brass and all products were converted as of October 2012."

Source: http://www.sharkbite.com/about-sharkbite/leadfree/lead-free-position/

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