Copper pipes with lead-free joint materials are the best choice for water pipes. They are long-lasting and won’t leach chemicals into your drinking water. However, copper pipes are generally more expensive, and copper’s intensive extraction and manufacturing process presents some environmental trade-offs. Also, if your water has a pH value of less than 7, you will need to install a system to balance the water’s acidity, lest it corrode the copper.
Polypropylene pipes are another good choice and are less expensive than copper pipes. Polypropylene is a durable, rigid plastic with less likelihood of chemical leaching compared to PEX. Heat can be used to join polypropylene pipes, instead of chemical solvents or leaded joint materials. Polypropylene pipes can also be recycled at the end of their lifecycles.
Joint Materials and Faucets
Since 2014, pipe fittings, faucets and plumbing materials labeled as “lead-free” can contain no more than 0.25 percent lead, while joint materials such as solder and flux may not have more than 0.20 percent lead. When purchasing faucets and joint materials, contact the manufacturer to confirm that the products comply with these standards.