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Old 06-08-2013, 07:08 AM   #1
Oct 2010
SF Bay, CA
Posts: 7

I've been brewing lots of ginger beer lately. I broke down my tap faucets for cleaning the other day and noticed the brass shank and plunger in my chrome/brass facets were looking a little tarnished. I hadn't put much thought into it before, but then I started doing some research. Between the CO2 and the lime juice I add to my ginger beer, it's probably a decently high pH. So, in the interest of keeping this post short I have the following questions:

1) Is this a significant health risk? (leaching lead from the brass, or other chemical reactions)
2) Is treating/pickling the brass with vinegar a reasonable approach?
3) Or, despite the cost, should I replace my shanks/faucets with stainless fixtures?

I understand the easy answer is to replace with stainless and be done. And that is definitely the long term solution. However, in the short term, what risk is soda in brass fixtures?

The only brass pieces in my faucets are the inside of the shank, the lever, and the plunger nut at the end of the shaft. The rest is chrome.

The help is very much appreciated, thanks all!

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Old 06-10-2013, 03:44 AM   #2
May 2013
Posts: 16

I have seen a study on this, but it's been a while I can no longer find it.

Plain water should be fine with brass fittings. Modern brass plumbing fixtures contain a minimum amount of lead that's not easily absorbed into water.

Carbonated water is another story. It's acidic (carbonic acid), as you've pointed out. That's fine when it's merely flowing through brass fixtures, but it's not ideal to have the standing acidic solution around the brass as it leeches the lead at a significantly faster rate.

Now, I'm not sure if "significantly faster" is fast enough to be dangerous, but if I were doing it, I'd avoid having carbonated water in contact with the brass for lengthy periods--maybe longer than overnight.

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Old 06-10-2013, 12:55 PM   #3
Oct 2009
Chicago, Illinois
Posts: 135
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

Upgrade to stainless. It will put your mind at ease.

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