For drinking water supplies the installation of new lead pipes and the use of lead solder to join pipes has been banned in the UK for more than 25 years. However, it is still possible to buy lead solder and cases of high lead in drinking water are still being recorded following its use by DIY enthusiasts or unqualified plumbers who are unaware of the danger.
Using lead-free solder to joint copper pipes which are used for drinking, cooking and washing isn’t just a legal requirement, it safeguards your drinking water.
Under the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws, the use of lead solder for jointing copper pipes is prohibited in plumbing systems which supply water for drinking, cooking or bathing. Solder containing lead can only be used on water installations not used for drinking, such as closed circuit central heating systems.
Your water supplier will be able to test the levels of lead in your water if you’re concerned. Water suppliers recommend households and businesses use WaterSafe to find approved plumbing businesses whose plumbers have undergone specific training in the Water Fitting Regulations and Byelaws.