MIAMI—American Biltrite (Canada) Ltd. has introduced a new EPDM that it said is compliant with NSF/ANSI 61 specifications for use of non-leaching materials in potable water.
U.S. legislation first was enacted at the beginning of 2014, but the provisions just are starting to take full effect in some applications, said Paul Smith, business development manager for American Biltrite. States must show compliance using their own enforcement agencies and report to the EPA. Materials are reviewed each year, covering where the water goes from faucet to drain.
“This is a new thing for us in an industry that really doesn't know a lot about the need for the change to convert to NSF-compliant rubber sheet,” Smith said. He and Frederic Guerin, vice president of sales and marketing, discussed the new EPDM at the recent NAHAD annual convention in Miami Beach, Fla.
Some of the applications that are impacted by the legislation are public drinking water distribution, including water storage tanks and reservoirs, water meters and all the individual components, according to Smith. That includes such items as gaskets used in those products, as well as fire hydrants, drinking fountains, faucets and plumbing devices.
He said fire hydrants previously had been exempt from such rules but that is no longer the case, as hydrants often are used to fill tankers that supply drinking waters in times of emergencies. The same goes for water treatment plants. “Those are two very big industries that will come around for the future,” Smith said.
American Biltrite uses the new EPDM to make its rubber sheet products that are then converted into gaskets by distributor/fabricators. “Some of our end users still need some education,” Guerin said. “Some are not aware of the new law, but we see increasing demand for the product.”
Smith said the process is made somewhat difficult because American Biltrite isn't connected to the end users, and there is much education and training that it must pass onto its distributors. “It's kind of a hidden business,” he said. “Most gaskets are out of sight, out of mind. They're invisible once you cut them.”
Guerin said the laws currently mainly affect the U.S., but Canada also is heading in the same direction. From there it likely will spread to other parts of the world, such as Europe, South America, China and Asia.