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THERE ARE FAUCETS AVAILABLE THAT REDUCE LEAD CONTAMINATION: NIBCO

 ELKHART, Ind., Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite recent reports that the plumbing industry has not been able to find an alternative for lead in the brass alloys used to manufacture faucets, at least one manufacturer counters those claims.
 "We have marketed a lead-free plumbing system since September 1991," said Jim Bamber, a spokesman for NIBCO INC. He issued the statement in response to two lawsuits that were filed Dec. 15 in California charging that faucets that leach dangerous amounts of lead into drinking water should be barred in California.
 The lawsuits were filed by the California Attorney General and two environmental groups under California's Proposition 65, an anti-toxin law. The groups cited a study conducted by Richard P. Maas, director of the Environmental Quality Institute at the University of North Carolina- Asheville.
 A spokesman for one of the groups filing suit has stated that they've been unable to find any faucets without brass. In a separate study conducted by the Environmental Quality Institute last year, even under extreme hot, acid conditions, NIBCO's HydraPure faucets leached approximately 100 times lower levels of lead than the leaded brass tested. "Of the four NIBCO models tested, all would meet the standard of Proposition 65," Maas said.
 Other NIBCO plumbing components, including fittings and valves, are made with bismuth, an element found in common over-the-counter remedies for indigestion. When the NIBCO faucet is used in combination with the bismuth-based fittings and lead-free solder, the result is a totally lead-free plumbing system from point of entry to the tap, Bamber said.
 According to Bamber, earlier attempts by plumbing manufacturers to substitute bismuth for lead in bronze alloys resulted in the embrittlement of the alloy. The alloy used in the NIBCO system is a compound of phosphorus-copper, tin, zinc, and bismuth, a blend that improves the fluidity and castings characteristics.
 NIBCO and others in the industry have conducted studies to show that the relative contribution of lead from household plumbing systems is small. However, there may be specific instances where a combination of factors would make it wise to minimize all risk factors associated with lead. A federal lead ban passed in 1986 allows the continued use of plumbing fixtures containing up to eight percent lead.
 Homeowners have been advised to run their tap water for up to two minutes before drawing water. "While that's good advice, it's a learned behavior and one that is not easy to instill in children," said Bamber. Running the tap for even 30 seconds could waste a minimum of 550 gallons of water annually per household, according to Bamber.
 "While legislators continue to tighten the guidelines on plumbing products, homeowners do not have to wait for safe systems," said Bamber.
 IMI Holdings of Yorkshire, England, created the HydraPure formula and holds the patent, according to Bamber. NIBCO has a licensing agreement with IMI Holdings to manufacture lead-free plumbing components for a certain period of time, which Bamber declined to reveal.
 /EDITOR'S NOTE: Interviews are available with two NIBCO INC. executives -- President Rex Martin and Marketing/Sales Director Jim Bamber -- at 219-295-3000. Martin's extension is 387; Bamber's is 225. For a copy of the report issued by the Environmental Quality Institute referred to in this release, contact Maggie Smith at 219-271-5621, ext. 230./
 /CONTACT: Maggie Smith, Juhl Marketing Communications, 219-271-5621 ext. 230, for NIBCO INC./
 -0- 12/18/92


CO: NIBCO INC. ST: Indiana IN: SU:

LC -- CL016 -- 8422 12/18/92 17:05 EST
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Date:Dec 18, 1992
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