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WA hospital lead blamed on dodgy products

AAP logoAAP 25/09/2016

Non-compliant plumbing products may explain how water at the new Perth Children's Hospital contains unsafe lead levels, the industry's peak association has suggested.

Treasurer Mike Nahan recently told parliament a new pipe installed under a road could be the source of the contamination, but further tests were underway.

Master Plumbers Australia chairman Noel Abercromby said Australian legislation required all plumbing products to carry WaterMark certification, so for any new builds it could only be assumed non-compliant products had been used.

"Lead is leached into water when it makes contact, particularly if it sits stationary for a number of hours, with pipes, taps and even the solder used to join them," Mr Abercromby said.

He also said it was alarming a two-year Macquarie University research project recently concluded one in 12 NSW homes contained unsafe levels of lead in drinking water, either because the fittings were dodgy or pre-dated the legislation.

"Home-owners and retailers can purchase products directly from overseas that are not inspected and in many cases don't have WaterMark certification - and which may contain brass or use solder with higher than allowable lead content," Mr Abercromby said.

"There is also no onus on local retailers to ensure the products they sell are compliant so it comes down to those installing the products."

The water contamination is the latest in a string of problems at the unfinished $1.2 billion hospital, including asbestos in ceiling panels imported from China.

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