It seems like every day that we get closer to the end of the year, we hear questions from customers about the lead free legislation that will effect our plumbing departments at each of our stores. It definitely has caused us to monitor our inventory levels better as we have been reducing stock of non compliant products.
What in the world am I talking about? Let me explain.
Our federal government (whether you think them good or bad) passed a law that was signed INTO law in 2011. It was called the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act. The law at its easiest level to explain involves removing all lead in brass pluming products that is used in drinking water applications. No… It doesn’t remove ALL lead, it actually can be .25% lead (current laws allow for up to 8%) and also any solder or flux has to be reduced to .2% lead.
It will be illegal for hardware stores or plumbing supply houses (like us) to sell any product that does not meet this criteria. It is also illegal to INSTALL these non compliant products.
Think about our stores for a moment. Our Doraville Hardware store has been in business for over 50 years. Each of our stores are KNOWN for “Hard to Find” items. Our plumbing departments are fully stocked with anything you might need to fix any plumbing related problem in your house. Hardware stores across the country are fully expecting members of the EPA or their under cover compliance officers to scour the country looking for violations.
So again, we’ve been monitoring our inventory levels, and even now, we are purchasing compliant products so that we will not be stuck with useless products. We are showing our folks how to identify lead free products. Basically, it comes down to educating ourselves so that we are on top of these new laws, so that we can be sure that we educate our customers about them.
Just so you know, these federal regulations aren’t just limited to the plumbing aisle. As you know, the lightbulb industry has drastically changed in the past couple years. Incandescent light bulbs have completely been overhauled and regulated. Our paint counters are also seeing many changes happening as we have to prepare to comply with new VOC regulations which will be enforced soon.
All of this are challenges, but for the best in the long run.