Worldwide public health and safety organisation NSF International has certified 56 water treatment devices to the first American National Standard developed to address consumer concerns of pharmaceuticals and other contaminants in drinking water.
The standard validates the effectiveness of water treatment devices that are designed to reduce trace levels of emerging contaminants in drinking water. The standard, named NSF/ANSI 401: Drinking Water Treatment Units – Emerging Compounds/Incidental Contaminants, addresses the ability of a water treatment device to remove up to 15 contaminants from drinking water. Types of contaminants include some pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter medications, herbicides, pesticides and chemicals used in the manufacturing of products such as bisphenol A (BPA).
NSF has certified 56 products to NSF/ANSI 401 at varying levels, providing home water treatment options to consumers concerned about these contaminants. The first manufacturers to achieve NSF/ANSI 401 certification for one or more of their water treatment devices include 3M Purification Inc, Access Business Group LLC, Amway China Co, Aquasana Inc, Electrolux Home Products, Everpure LLC, General Electric Company, Kaz USA Inc, Kemflo / Filbur and Whirlpool Corporation.
While not a public health issue, the contaminants covered in NSF/ANSI 401 have been detected in drinking water supplies at trace levels and can affect some consumers’ perception of drinking water quality. In fact, an independent survey conducted on behalf of NSF International indicated that 63 per cent of Americans are concerned about pharmaceuticals and other contaminants in their drinking water.
The new standard sets requirements for water treatment and filtration devices that reduce up to 15 individual contaminants, which have been identified in published studies as occurring in drinking water. The 15 contaminants are:
- Meprobamate: a compound found in anti-anxiety drugs.
- Phenytoin: an anti-epileptic drug.
- Atenolol: a beta blocker drug.
- Carbamazepine: an anti-convulsant and mood-stabilising drug.
- Trimethoprim: an antibiotic medication.
- Estrone: a prescription birth control drug.
- Ibuprofen: an over-the-counter pain reliever and anti-inflammatory medication.
- Naproxen: an over-the-counter pain reliever and anti-inflammatory medication.
Herbicides and Pesticides
- DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide): a pesticide and common active ingredient in insect repellents.
- Metolachlor: an organic compound that is widely used as an herbicide.
- Linuron: an herbicide often used in the control of grasses and weeds.
- TCEP (tris(2-carboxyethyl)phosphine): a chemical compound used as a flame-retardant, plasticiser and viscosity regulator in various types of polymers including polyurethanes, polyester resins and polyacrylates.
- TCPP (Tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl)phosphate): a chemical compound used as a flame-retardant.
- BPA (Bisphenol A): a chemical compound used as a plasticiser.
- Nonyl phenol: a collection of compounds often used as a precursor to commercial detergents.
Products covered in the standard include several types of point-of-use (POU) and point-of-entry (POE) products, such as faucet mount, under-sink, counter-top, plumbed-in, refrigerator, pour-through, mouth-drawn and hand-squeezed sports bottle type filtration systems, POU reverse osmosis systems and traditional filtration systems.
Earning certification to NSF/ANSI 401 demonstrates that the product has been independently tested and verified to reduce specific contaminants. Each product was also evaluated to verify compliance with material, design and construction, performance, product literature and labeling requirements.