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Are Shark Bite Fittings Legal in California?

Many home owners have been asking whether the Shark bite fittings have been approved by the local building departments in California and the answer is NO!

In the year 2010, the were laws passed in California and Vermont that made it illegal to sell any pipes, fixtures or fittings that dispense or transport drinking water with a weighted average lead content of more than 0.25% calculated based on the wetted surface area.  Consequently most Shark Bite were disapproved in California and Vermont.

The Law also prohibits any sale of solder or flux that is not Lead free unless it has been clearly marked that it is illegal for use in the installation or repair of any plumbing works used for water meant for human consumption.

After this ruling however, Shark Bite and other manufacturers have since come up with Lead free brass fittings not to mention that there are plastic equivalents as well.


Why Shark Bite Fittings Are Not Legal in California and Vermont

California is known to be pretty strict on most things especially when they touch on the local building code. These laws become extremely strict when it comes to drinking water and the Lead component used in manufacturing the pipes and other joining components used in plumbing.

Though Shark Bite is a popular plumbing product among many plumbers and citizens they remain illegal for plumbing works use in California and Vermont. This is because of their laws that requires all drinking water fixtures, pipes and fittings to be Lead free!  Shark Bite makes most of their fittings using Brass which has some amount of Lead in it and therefore fails to meet the states requirement.

The Maximum Allowable Lead Content (MALC) law states that any part of a fitting, fixture or pipe that comes into contact with drinking water should have no more than 0.25% of Lead. The production process of Brass uses between 2% and 8% of Lead by weight making it non-compliant with the law hence they cannot be used in any plumbing system in California. It is therefore advisable for any homeowner in California to look out for the label “Lead Free ” on plumbing products before buying.

Lead Content Law on Drinking Water Pipes, Fixtures and Fittings

The state of California has very elaborate laws on the drinking water and all the appliances and fittings that come in touch with the water as it is being transported from one point to another. This law dictates that all the pipes, fittings and fixtures that are installed in public buildings and in residential areas MUST be Lead free.

Through research, it has been established that Lead Poisoning leads to serious health hazards and it has been associated with many health anomalies like development delays, learning disabilities, anemia and behavioral problems.

Though used in all other states, the Shark Bite fittings that are made of brass and other materials that have some lead content in them are not approved for use in the State of California.


Final Word

It is now clear that Shark Bite fittings are banned in California and they cannot be used in any installations and repairs. This is according to the law that has been put in place to protect the residents in the State. The law provides for all Californians to have access to clean and safe drinking water throughout their life.

You can look out for Lead- Free fittings available in the market to complete your plumbing project and be within the law. We will keep you UPDATED when the law changes or when Shark Bite produces Lead-Free fitting. Stay Safe.