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Question from Anna

Hi Debra,

It is taking me time and and a half to really make this bathroom perfect and non toxic.

I am stuck on a bathroom sink as so many manufacturers use chemicals in their sinks. I am thinking about making the stand myself and just buying maybe like a stone vessel sink or something. What are your thoughts?

Before I found your site, I came across the mychemicalfreehouse blog. All of my supply ideas came from there, as far as purchasing non toxic mortar, grout, paint, etc., but the articles didn’t disclose sinks or plumbing issues (lead and plastic ) which is really my last step until I am all finished.

A lot of porcelein or ceramic fixtures with glazes almost always contain lead, especially if made in China. I guess I’m ultimately trying to avoid chinese made products. I’m having a hard time finding a USA made porcelein sink with no lead.

I did find one that had both resin and stone but they said there might be fire retardants in their products :/ The bathroom gets super hot in the summer time (third floor bathroom ) and so I know I definately don’t want resin up there or anything with chemicals /lead.

Do you know of any good eco friendly companies made here in the states that make sinks?

Debra’s Answer

I’ve been emailing back and forth this week with Anna, who is looking for a lead-free bathroom sink and faucet for her remodel.

No lead in the faucet fixture. No lead in the sink.

LEAD-FREE FAUCETS

First, on January 4, 2014 the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act went into effect. This national mandate requires that every pipe, fixture, and fitting used to convey water for potable use contain less than 0.25% of lead by weight. Here’s an article about the problem with lead in faucets prior to the mandate.

I remember when lead in faucets became an issue. I had an antique copper faucet in my kitchen and I took it out and replaced it with a “lead-free” faucet. But note that manufacturers are allowed up to 0.25% of lead by weight. But that is much less than it was in the past.

Some manufacturers, though, did remove the lead, and didn’t wait for the 2014 mandate.

I found a lead-free made-in-the-USA bathroom faucet for Anna from American Standard On their website they say they have been lead-free since 2009. They eliminated lead from their brass alloy entirely and replaced it with bismuth. So you could choose any American Standard faucet and it’s actually, really lead-free.

I need to do a research project to check what other faucet manufacturers have done in this regard.

Anna later wrote and said she had found a brand of 100% lead free, all stainless steel shower fixture called Parmir. Anna wrote, “They are focused on healthy living and green products. There is absolutely no brass in the product and only a stainless steel finish. Another company that also produces all stainless steel things is called mgs I believe. They are from Italy, and they cost a ton of money but the design is amazing. If you are looking for a budget, health friendly product , look at Parmir.” I’m taking her word for this. The Parmir site is another language. But I found a whole line of Parmir “solid stainless steel” bathroom faucets at Factory Direct Hardware: Parmir Bathroom Faucets.

Here’s a long list of “lead-free bathroom faucets.” What needs to be checked is

1. are they 100% lead-free?

2. What did they replace the lead with? I read that some manufacturers removed the lead and replaced it with plastic [type unknown]

For the moment we have some options, but I think research could find more.

LEAD-FREE SINKS

Anna asked for since made in USA and I found a whole list: Made in USA. Bathroom Sinks But just because they are made in the USA doesn’t mean they are lead-free. USA manufacturers could also be using contaminated materials.

There are many types of sinks besides the usual porcelain. Glass, stainless steel, pottery… We need to look at all the types and research which types don’t have lead. I haven’t done that research yet.

I would suggest that you get some Lead-Check swabs. Even though they are not 100% accurate to verify a negative result, if it’s positive, I would be pretty confident the sink contains lead.

So we have some new questions to look at. But at least new exposures to toxic substances are continuing to be discovered and made known so we can find the safe solutions.

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