|Source • Brands||
Price • Origin
27294 Kenworth Place
Harrisburg, SD 57032
(Meets North American Standard)
This Company In Brief
Novatto is a sink company that also sells kitchen and bath sink faucets, bathroom furniture and some accessories, all imported from China. The faucet collection includes a generous selection of faucets designed to be used with vessel sinks to complement the company's extensive collection of vessel sinks for the bath.
Novatto sells through showrooms and plumbing supply houses such as Briggs; big box lumber stores like Sutherlands, Lowes and Builders Warehouse; and online through ATG Stores (a Lowes affiliate), Faucet Direct, Build.com , Amazon, Wayfair, and discount sites such as CyberMonday and NinjaSteals.
Novatto, Inc. is a South Dakota corporation organized in 2011 by Robert Mark Vander Waal. It is primarily a bathroom and kitchen sink company. It also sells bathroom and kitchen sink faucets, bathroom furnishings and some accessories. All products, so far as we can determine, are imported from China.
Lead in Chinese Faucets
Lead is by some accounts more dangerous than arsenic. The maximum acceptable level of lead contamination in drinking water in the U.S. and Canada set by the EPA and CEPA is 5 parts per billion (ppb) — that's billion with a "b".
Yet, that may still be too much lead. According to the World Health Organization, "[t]here is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe."[Note 1] Regulators would prefer a no-lead standard, But, the EPA's maximum lead level of 5 ppb in drinking water reflects what is do-able — about what current technology can achieve. But, expect it to be set lower as technology improves.
Lead hazardous to human health particularly of children, attacking the brain and central nervous system causing developmental and learning disorders and, in severe cases, dementia, coma and even death.[Note 2]
In China, the source of most off-brand faucets sold in the U.S. and Canada, there is no lead limit in drinking water, and faucets made for the domestic market often contain large amounts of lead. Lead is still prized in Chinese manufacturing because it is plentiful, cheap, easy to form and shape, and resistant to corrosion. Lead compounds are regularly added to plastics and vinyl to make them more resistant to high temperatures; and to cheap metal products to make them seem more substantial by increasing their weight.[Note 3]
Most Chinese (including doctors) do not recognize lead as a significant hazard. As a result, few regulations have been enacted to control for lead. There is no consumer product safety commission and no laws mandating lead-free buildings. Lead contamination is not taken seriously by the Chinese faucet industry or by government regulators. Acute lead poisoning of entire towns and villages from nearby smelters and factories is common in China. Chronic long-term exposure from smokestacks, lead paint, coal burning and contaminated water affects millions of Chinese citizens.
According to Human Rights Watch, Chinese parents seeking help for children with typical lead poisoning symptoms: loss of appetite, incessant fever, sluggish and agitated behavior, are commonly arrested rather that given aid[Note 4]. By some estimates, as many as 1/3rd of all children in China are affected by some degree of lead poisoning[Note 5].
China has no EPA to help control environmental pollution, and nothing like OSHA to regulate exposure to dangerous pollutants in the workplace. Chinese government assessments of contaminants in the environment are known to be wildly unreliable. A recent study by Chinese scientists of water in the reservoir that feeds 60% of Beijing households found levels of lead 20 times the maximum set by the World Health Organization.[Note 6]
Chinese faucet testing standards (GB18145) do not include a lead limit. Shi Hongwei, Deputy Director of Quality Supervision for China's National Building Material Industry, Inspection and Testing Center announced in 2013 that China would implement limits on lead content in plumbing fixtures in 2014. But, 2014 has come and gone without action by the Chinese government.[Note 7]
No one, not even the most experienced expert, can tell by looking at a faucet whether or not it contains a dangerous amount of lead. The only safeguard is laboratory testing and certification by an accredited laboratory that a faucet is "lead-free" to the very strict U.S. and Canadian standards.
If your faucet is not certified, it may very well be slowly and silently poisoning yourself and your family. Something to keep in mind when choosing a faucet.
1. "Lead Poisoning and Health: Fact Sheet", World Health Organization. Updated July 2016. World Health Organization. Web 22 July 2016.
2. "Lead Poisoning and Health: Fact Sheet", World Health Organization. Updated July 2016. World Health Organization. Web 22 July 2016.
3. Wang S, Zhang J. "Blood lead levels in children, China". Environmental Research. 2006. Web 2 Aug 2017.
4. "My Children Have Been Poisoned: A Public Health Crisis in Four Chinese Provinces", Human Rights Watch. Web 2 Aug 2017.
5. Amon, Joe. "China Is Hurting Its Future By Not Acting on Lead Poisoning". Huffington Post, 22 Aug 2011. Huffington Post. Web 20 July 2016.
6. Liu, Charles. "Beijing Says Tap Water is Safe, but Chinese Scientists Disagree". The Nanfang. 4 May 2016. Nanfang Limited (Hong Kong). Web 20 July 2016.
7. "Toward a Mandatory Standard for Heavy Metal Content". Huao Sanitary Ware News. 17 Mar 2016. Huao Sanitary Ware. Web. 20 July 2016.
The faucets are designs owned by the Haijun, neither created for nor exclusive to Novatto. For example the Novatto GF-136 Eclipse faucet, pictured above, is in the Haijun general catalog as the 81H36 faucet. The faucets are fairly conservative, ranging from traditional to contemporary. Chinese faucet designs tend to be somewhat conservative. Chinese factories make money selling mass-market faucets to mass-market customers, and to reach the widest customer base keep their designs well within conventional design limits. There are few design adventures in China, and none in the Novatto collection.
Novatto sells through showrooms and plumbing supply houses such as Briggs; big box lumber stores like Sutherlands, Lowes and Builders Warehouse; and online through ATG Stores (a Lowes affiliate), Faucet Direct, Build.com , Amazon, Wayfair, and discount sites such as CyberMonday and NinjaSteals. Its forté appears to be selling vessel sinks with matching vessel faucets as a set.
Despite having been in business for over five years, the company gives the impression of one that is not quite ready for prime time. A lot of things seem to have been left undone. Its website, for example, is woefully incomplete. It gives us the impression that Novatto was told that it needed a website, so it created a minimum site just to say it has one, not spending much time or effort to create or maintain it. Many features don't work and many links lead nowhere. We noticed these defects in the Summer of 2016, and have seen no evidence so far that any effort is being made to fix them.
The website does not even offer a complete catalog of the faucets sold by Novatto. Faucets known to be in the Novatto inventory are not shown on the website and others that are shown are no longer being sold. We had to track down the various models offered for sale through multiple retail websites in order to compile our own catalog.
The information provided about individual faucets is extremely sparse, in most cases just a small image and model number. No specification sheets, dimensioned drawings or exploded parts diagrams are available for most faucets. We eventually found specification sheets for just five faucets, but one of these was a broken link. The basic information required to make a decision whether the faucet fits your requirements is simply not provided by Novatto on the Web or in print form.
The mechanics of Novatto faucets are about average for Chinese-made faucets. While the faucet bodies are typically all brass, handles are usually the less expensive zinc or zinc alloy: ZAMAK. The company's faucet cartridges are generic Chinese. We could not positively identify the manufacturer of the ones we examined. There were no maker marks. Haijun typically uses cartridges made by Sedal S.L.U. in its better faucets. Sedal is chartered in Spain with its headquarters in Barcelona, but it does all of its actual manufacturing in China. We cannot confirm, however, that the faucets used in Novatto faucets are, in fact, from Sedal.
The Novatto warranty is the standard North American "limited lifetime" warranty pioneered a half century ago by It applies to "most" faucets. Which faucets constitute the class of "most" faucets is not indicated on the company website. If anything breaks, the company promises to provide the parts required to fix it, but the labor to install the parts is not included. The warranty is offered only to the original purchaser, and only as long as the original purchaser "owns their [sic] home." All of this is standard in U.S. and most Canadian "limited lifetime" faucet warranties. However, the Novatto warranty requires that the customer pay shipping charges to return the faucet to South Dakota and to ship the replacement faucet back. These provisions are unusual.
Chinese faucets comparable to Novatto, but which are fully certified to U.S./Canadian standards and legal to sell in both countries include
Because Novatto faucets have not been tested or certified to comply with North American safety, reliability, lead-free or conservation standards, they are not legal to sell or install anywhere in North America, and we cannot recommend their purchase, especially as largely identical faucets can be obtained from companies that have fully complied with the laws and regulations that apply to faucets sold in the U.S. and Canada.
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Novatto faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.