PEX, For non-F1807 Yellow Brass Fittings (YBFs), there is another approved Class Action lawsuit.

by Feb 18, 2020Plumbing

The following information briefly covers excerpts from the alleged failure history and the website for official information and claims as well as other fitting warning.
Original CASE 0:12-cv-00249-ADM-JJK Document 174 Filed 02/21/14

Plaintiffs bring this matter individually and on behalf of those similarly situated in a nationwide class action.
Uponor sold its Components for PEX plumbing systems throughout the United States from the early-1990s through at least the late-2000s, when the products were banned because of the risks and damages set forth in this complaint.

These failures have resulted or will result in the leaching of potentially impermissible and harmful amounts of lead into the potable-water-delivery systems and substantial damage to property other than the Components themselves prior to the Components reaching their useful life.

The failures of the Components have caused and will cause in the future water leaks. These leaks have caused and will in turn cause extensive damage to other property including the homes, buildings, and personal property of the owners.

The Components manufactured, marketed, and sold by Uponor had shown signs of premature wear, dezincification, leaking, and/or failure after only two years of use.

Uponor was negligent in selling the Components for a number of reasons, including their decision to actively market, promote, and sell fittings made from brasses with high zinc content, known as “yellow brass.” “High zinc content” means that the brass is made up of more than 15% zinc and/or is not otherwise treated to resist dezincification. Dezincification is a chemical process during which the zinc is removed from the brass alloy when the alloy is exposed to water – the very substance these fittings are intended to convey.

Brass Components susceptible to premature failure through stress corrosion cracking and/or dezincification corrosion.

The design, materials choices, and manufacturing practices of the brass fittings marketed and sold by Uponor have created a product that is defective and begins to fail, i.e., dezincify, on its first day of use, even if perfectly installed in its intended environment.

The degradation of the Uponor Components has caused damage to Plaintiffs’ real and personal property other than the plumbing system sold by Uponor. For example, the dezincification process damages other components of the plumbing system not sold by Uponor, such as shower, bathtub and fixture cartridges, as well as appliances such as water heaters, ice makers, water treatment systems, dishwashers, and clothes-washing machines by depositing damaging scale and buildup on those components.
Brass fittings with high zinc content have proven to be a problem for the entire PEX plumbing industry. Failures have been reported in virtually every state and in every PEX system distributed and installed throughout the United States by different companies.

Uponor’s own codes and standards expert, Julius Ballanco, admits that lead leaches from yellow brass fittings when they are put into service in homes.
The amendment to the Safe Water Act went into effect on January 4, 2014. As a result of the amendment the Uponor F877, F1960 and F2080 fittings can no longer be installed in potable water systems in the United States, effectively banning these fittings as unsafe and harmful to potable water systems.

The fittings are failing of their intended purpose by allowing water to pass beyond the intended sealing barbs of the assembly and causing the fittings to fail their design purpose, where the meringue indicative of the dezincification form of corrosion of the yellow brass fittings is present past the exterior barriers to fitting leakage and has led to the formation of a voluminous corrosion product called meringue that occludes fittings thereby also significantly reducing the flow of water through the plumbing system. The dezincification of the yellow brass selected by Uponor to fabricate Uponor/Wirsbo fittings has caused the fittings to experience failure by leakage as well as to failure by occlusion.

This action has been brought and may be properly maintained as a nationwide class action by all the Plaintiffs pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23, on behalf of a nationwide class defined as follows: All persons and entities that own a structure physically located in the United States that contains a potable water PEX plumbing system with the Components sold by Uponor or its predecessors (the “Class”).

Preliminary approval CASE 0:12-cv-00249-ADM-JJK Document 248 Filed 06/12/15
All Persons that own (owned or subsequently purchase/own) buildings, homes, residences, Common Areas, Residential Units, or Non-Residential Properties located in the United States, built on or after January 1, 2002, which contain Uponor Yellow Brass Fittings.

The Court approved the Settlement on September 9, 2015. The Effective Date was contingent on approval of the In re: Wirsbo non-F1807 YBFs Yellow Brass Litigation, No. 08-CV-1223 which occurred on November 16, 2015. The Effective Date is December 16, 2015.
See https://brassfittingsclass.com/nationwide/ (Official website with FAQs)
Claims for Future Damage or Low Flow must be filed within six months after the occurrence. The claims period will run for five years from when the Settlement is approved. Approximately September 2020.

How do I know if my home has these products?

Identifying Stickers: Look inside your electrical panel for a yellow sticker that says “Uponor,” “Wirsbo,” or “Aquapex.”

From the official claim form, you must have proof including the following:
-Physical Evidence, such as the Uponor Yellow Brass Fittings
-Copy of an inspection report identifying the Uponor/Wirsbo PEX System in your home/building
-Notarized Plumber’s affidavit confirming the Uponor/Wirsbo PEX System in your home/building
-Photograph, video, invoice or other documentation supporting your claim

Uponor Yellow Brass Fittings, the high zinc content brass products in this case, were made of UNS C36000, C37700, or C35330 brass or similar copper alloys and were used as components of a piping plumbing system (called the “Uponor/Wirsbo PEX System”).

If we all stick together, nobody gets burned!