Gentec fights lead with stainless steel
Gentec has released a 100% stainless steel range to combat lead in drinking water.
It has been made public that a significant change to the Plumbing Code will come into effect in 2023. The changes will impact all Australian manufacturers, importers, suppliers and installers, and were driven by a result of various projects with higher signs of lead levels leaching in fittings and drinking bubblers.
In a recent finding by Macquarie University researchers1 reported that at least 5-8% of Australian households could be drinking water contaminated with copper and lead at a level which exceeded the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG).
The study revealed that kitchen taps containing up to 2.84% of detectable lead are the primary source for lead contamination. Lead has been the known cause of significant health issues, with children and pregnant women being at the highest risk.
The current Australian plumbing standard allows up-to 4.5% lead content for tap fittings, which indeed does not contribute to protecting the health of our population.
Without waiting for the standard to change, many Australia manufacturers have opted to shift products to lead-safe solutions.
The most common materials used are certified less-lead alloys common in Europe and the United States sometimes referred to as ‘ECO BRASS’. Although they are commonly referred to as less-lead, ECO BRASS still contains an amount of 0.25% (maximum) lead to maintain its structure also requiring many hazardous metals for the product make up. As such the above solution may reduce the lead content but it does not totally eliminate any possible lead contamination.
To completely eliminate the lead risk, some States have started to make changes on their drinking water plumbing product requirements.
The Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA) is now requiring only a maximum of 0.25% lead in tap fixtures, Stainless Steel drinking fountains, troughs, inset sinks, emergency eyewash bowls for schools2.
Furthermore, type 316 and 304 stainless steel must be used in food preparation/handling areas and in bathrooms, shower rooms, toilets, and similar wet areas, respectively.
As a well-respected manufacturer of eco-friendly and safe plumbing technology, Gentec Australia opted to switch to 100% 316 stainless steel by launching ‘Gpure’ – an authentic lead-free range, completely eliminating the real risks. The finishes offered also eliminate chrome plating which is another environmental impact.
“A core philosophy at Gentec is to be forward thinking. In keeping with this thinking, it was not sufficient for us to continue along the same path as others in the market by simply making a mandated material change,” Gentec Australia CEO George Joukhadar says.
“We don’t believe using the likes of ECO BRASS completely addressed the issue at hand as they still contain lead. For this reason, Gentec made the decision to start a rigorous transition, changing all our products to 316 Stainless Steel.”
Stainless steel doesn’t contain lead or copper, making the Gpure range 100% safe, hard wearing and environmentally-friendly. The 316 stainless steel products have an increased corrosion resistance, particularly against chlorides, chlorinated solutions and increased strength at high temperatures. This makes it ideal for indoor and outdoor environments including schools and parks.
“Along with 100% safety from any possible lead contamination risk, our stainless steel Gpure range also provides other advantages,” George explains.
“Typically machined or brushed stainless steel finishes provide a porous surface for bacterial growth. At Gentec we have developed a polished fingerprint free technology on our Gpure products that creates a non-porous finish counteracting bacterial growth and maintaining the hygiene of your wetted areas for drinking water.”
The new Gpure range includes pre-rinse units, timed flow tapware, single lever mixers and electronic tapware, all of which are compatible with Gentec’s smart monitoring system.
“Gpure is also the first product range to market that offers integrated temperature monitoring at end of the line. Temperatures are measured directly at the tap outlet of electronic taps, single lever mixers and point-of-use, providing unparalleled accuracy and safety.
“Gentec’s Building Automated Controls (BAC) has been specially designed to integrate with our range of products, offering multiple options for fixture management, flush cycles, temperatures monitoring, water meters, preventive flush and commissioning features for simple reporting.”
1. Harvey, P. J., Handley, H. K., & Taylor, M. P. (2016). Widespread copper and lead contamination of household drinking water, New South Wales, Australia. Environmental research, 151, 275–285. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2016.07.041
2. Victorian School Building Authority (2019). Building Quality Standards Handbook. 5.3.12. Sanitaryware. Pages 63 & 69.
Health.Vic (2018, May 16). Concerns about lead in drinking water. Retrieved from https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/about/news-and-events/healthalerts/concerns-about-lead-in-drinking-water-may-2018