ST. CLOUD, (AP) - Hardware store owners say a federal safe drinking water regulation that will soon take effect means higher prices for some plumbing materials and supplies.

The new regulation which takes effect Jan. 4 requires all products that come in contact with drinking water to have a maximum lead content of 0.25 percent. It includes every component of water distribution and treatment, from the filtration plant to plumbing fixtures.

Paul Wippler owns a hardware store in Sauk Rapids. Wippler says a faucet aerator, for example, that now costs $2.49 will cost $5.99 once the regulation takes effect.

He says wholesalers started shifting to lead-free fittings and faucets about a year ago. But, after Jan. 4, consumers won't be able to choose the cheaper product.