NSF International develops test method to check microcystin level in water filters


Global public health organisation NSF International has developed a test method that checks the capability of a water filter to bring down microcystin below the health advisory levels determined by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The test method created by NSF International is the NSF Protocol 477: Drinking Water Treatment Units - Microcystin.

The first products on the list to earn certification to the protocol include Coway Company models CIFN11-PLUS, CIFN11S-PLUS, CIFN14-PLUS, CIFN8-PLUS and CIFN85-PLUS, and Access Business Group's eSpring models 100185, 100188 and 100189.

Microcystin is the common form of cyanotoxin, which is a group of chemical contaminants developed by blue-green algae.

"Water treatment systems and filters can earn NSF International certification only if they successfully pass through a series of extensive tests."

The blue-green algae, also called harmful algae blooms (HABs), grow significantly in warm weather conditions coupled with the right nutrients in lakes, such as phosphates from agricultural runoff.

These HABs can lead to toxic concentrations of cyanotoxins, in particular microcystin, that can contaminate public water treatment systems.

Consumption of high level of microcystin concentrations through drinking water or exposure through recreational water use can cause several ill-health symptoms such as headaches, fever, vomiting, as well as liver and kidney damage.

Water filters certified to NSF Protocol 477: Drinking Water Treatment Units - Microcystin feature an extra layer of protection against microcystin.

Water treatment systems and filters can earn NSF International certification only if they successfully pass through a series of extensive tests.

The tests are conducted to confirm that these systems meet the strict requirements of NSF/ANSI 53, which is an American National Standard for drinking water treatment facilities.

There are also plans to use NSF Protocol 477 to test other cyanotoxins such as anatoxin-a and cylindrospermopsin.

NSF International Water Systems vice-president Clif McLellan said: "With the availability of NSF Protocol 477: Drinking Water Treatment Units Microcystin, manufacturers now have a way to demonstrate to consumers that their water filters can effectively reduce microcystin to below EPA health advisory limits and provide an additional barrier to cyanotoxins over and above treatment by the municipal water utility."