Regulations for lead-free materials

Wieland ecoline meets your individual needs for efficient production and forward-looking product development. And naturally complies with the specific legal guidelines for lead-free materials in your industry.
These guidelines are becoming increasingly complex. Rely on our expertise to stay compliant and be profitable at the same time.

Drinking Water Directive

In Europe, the Directive 98/83/EC governs the quality of water intended for human consumption. Annex I, Part B, of this directive defines the maximum allowable concentrations of specific elements. For example, the maximum allowable concentration of lead is 10 μg/l. This value became binding as from 1 December 2013.

In drinking water installations, it therefore has to be ensured that only materials are used which are suitable for contact with drinking water. Materials that are hygienically approved for drinking water installations in Germany are stated in the list of metallic materials suitable for contact with drinking water issued by the German Federal Environment Agency. Based on the 4MS Initiative, supported by Germany, France, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom, there will henceforth be a common Composition List for metallic materials in line with the German Federal Environment Agency’s list of metallic materials suitable for contact with drinking water. Other EU countries have already indicated that they too will adopt this common Composition List.

On 16 December 2020, a new version of the European Drinking Water Directive was published, which came into force on 12 January 2021 and must be transposed into national law by 12 January 2023. The new version states that a limit value for lead of 5 μg/l must be complied with at the latest after the transitional period of 15 years from 12 January 2036.

Safe Drinking Water Act

In the USA, the Safe Drinking Water Act governs the quality of drinking water, with the focus being on specific elements used in drinking water systems. Unlike Europe, the USA regulates the lead content in components used in drinking water systems. This is governed by the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act which came into effect in all U.S. states as of January 2014.

The weighted average lead content in pipes, fittings, fixtures and other components used to convey or dispense drinking water must not exceed 0.25 %. In practice, this means the lead content of components used to convey or dispense drinking water is limited to a maximum of 0.25 %.


RoHS stands for Restriction of Hazardous Substances and restricts the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. The current version 2011/65/EU (RoHS 2) dates from 2011 and is the follow-up directive to the first version of 2002.

The RoHS limits the lead content to 0.1 %, although there is also an exemption for copper alloys. According to this exemption 6c, up to 4 % Pb by weight is currently permitted.  

The exemptions in RoHS have a duration of 5 to 7 years, depending on the product group. An extension must be actively requested by the industry. The exemption for the restriction of lead in copper alloys currently expires on 21 July 2021. The extension of the exemption was requested in time.

Current information and updates are published on the homepage of the European Commission.


ELV stands for End-of-Life Vehicle and is a European Union directive on end-of-life vehicles. It dates back to 2000 and contains the goal of making the disposal and recycling of end-of-life vehicles more environmentally friendly.

The exemptions from the ban on the use of hazardous substances are listed in Annex II of the Directive. According to the ELV, materials and components of vehicles must not contain lead (max. 0.1% by weight). However, an exemption for copper alloys is listed in the Annex. Exemption 3 currently allows a lead content in copper alloys of up to 4% by weight. This exemption is regularly reviewed and reassessed. Depending on this, a decision is then made on whether to extend the respective exemption. The next evaluation of the exemption is scheduled for 2025.

Current information and updates are published on the homepage of the European Commission


REACH is an EU regulation with the aim of regulating all chemical substances manufactured in or imported into the EU. Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 is dated 18 December 2006 and came into force on 1 June 2007. REACH is an abbreviation and stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals.  

Entry 63 in Annex XVII of the Reach Regulation defines the permissible content for lead and lead compounds in articles intended for supply to the general public and which can be put in the mouth by children.

It generally states that for such products, no parts containing 0.05% lead or more by weight may be placed on the market. This limit does not apply if the rate of release of lead from such a product or the accessible parts of it, whether coated or not, has been shown not to exceed 0.05 μg/cm2 per hour (equivalent to 0.05 μg/g/h). For brass alloys, 0.5% Pb is permissible.  

Furthermore, keys and locks, musical instruments or ball pen tips are excluded from the restriction on lead.


CPSIA is the abbreviation for Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and is a law introduced in August 2008 to increase safety requirements and standards for consumer products, especially children's products, in the USA.  

Children's products are defined as consumer products designed or intended for children up to 12 years of age. The law thus affects a wide range of products and many different industries. It should be noted that inaccessible parts of a product are not covered by this regulation. However, a coating or colour does not limit accessibility.

The CPSIA severely limits the amount of lead in children's products. The current limit since 14 August 2011 is 100ppm, which corresponds to a percentage of only 0.01%.

The contents of this website are researched and implemented with the greatest possible care. We make every effort to ensure that the information is up-to-date, correct and complete. Nevertheless, the occurrence of possible errors cannot be excluded. Therefore, despite careful checking, we cannot accept liability for the accuracy, completeness and up-to-dateness of these websites.