Cable and connector manufacturer Lapp USA Inc., Florham Park, N.J. (www.lappusa.com), is now manufacturing its cables with lead-free compounds. This is a result of recent lawsuits in California against manufacturers of wire and cable products, as well as environmental and safety issues. The amount of lead in electrical insulation compound formulations vary by an approximate range of 2 to 6%, based on 1 lb of raw virgin material.

The primary reason for adding lead to formulations of PVC wire and cable insulation is that these compounds require stabilizers. Without stabilizers, PVC insulation could not maintain its physical, thermal, and electrical capabilities. However, lead leaches out of most PVC compounds when tested under U.S. EPA TCLP protocol.

Addressing this issue, Lapp developed lead-free compounds that pass all applicable UL requirements under UL Standard 83, including a longterm wet insulation resistance test which lasts up to 36 weeks.