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What is NSF Certified

Accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), NSF has developed over 70 currently active voluntary American National Standards under the scope of public health, safety, environment and sustainability assessment.  NSF/ANSI standards are developed through a public process that ensures balanced input from industry representatives, public health/regulatory officials and users/consumer representatives.

NSF International was founded in 1944 as the National Sanitation Foundation to help standardize sanitation and food safety at a time when the United States had no national sanitation standards. As NSF expanded services beyond sanitation and became a global public health and safety organization, we changed our name to NSF International in 1990.

From the beginning, NSF set a course to create independent standards and product testing programs to help improve overall public health. NSF currently has over 70 active standards and over 75 active protocols. They address products ranging from home water treatment systems to kitchen and household appliances to dietary supplements to sustainable flooring and furnishings.

Today, NSF International is a global organization offering services in more than 170 countries. Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, we remain committed to protecting and improving human health worldwide. We are a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Food Safety, Water Quality and Indoor Environment.

NSF is widely recognized around the world for its scientific and technical expertise in health and environmental sciences. Our microbiologists, engineers, chemists, toxicologists and other environmental professionals are experts in their fields and work hard in our state-of-the-art laboratories to help make sure the products that we all use every day are safer.

 

Filtration

 

Three NSF standards cover filtration systems: NSF/ANSI 42, NSF/ANSI 53 and NSF/ANSI 401.

NSF/ANSI 42: Drinking Water Treatment Units - Aesthetic Effects

 

NSF/ANSI 42 establishes the minimum requirements for the certification of POU/POE filtration systems designed to reduce specific aesthetic or non-health-related contaminants (chlorine, taste, odor and particulates) that may be present in public or private drinking water.

The scope of NSF/ANSI 42 includes material safety, structural integrity and aesthetic, non-health-related contaminant reduction performance claims. The most common technology addressed by this standard is carbon filtration.

 

NSF/ANSI 53: Drinking Water Treatment Units - Health Effects

 

NSF/ANSI 53 establishes the minimum requirements for the certification of POU/POE filtration systems designed to reduce specific health-related contaminants, such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, lead, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether), that may be present in public or private drinking water.

The scope of NSF/ANSI 53 includes material safety, structural integrity and health-related contaminant reduction performance claims. The most common technology addressed by this standard is carbon filtration.

 

NSF/ANSI 401: Emerging Compounds/Incidental Contaminants

 

NSF/ANSI 401 addresses the ability of a water treatment device to remove up to 15 individual contaminants (listed below), which have been identified in published studies as occurring in drinking water. 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. (NSF/ANSI 401 also applies to reverse osmosis (RO) water treatment.)

Prescription Drugs

Meprobamate: a compound found in anti-anxiety drugs.

Phenytoin: an anti-epileptic drug.

Atenolol: a beta blocker drug.

Carbamazepine: an anti-convulsant and mood-stabilizing drug.

Trimethoprim: an antibiotic medication.

Estrone: a prescription birth control drug.

Over-the-Counter Medications

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.

Chemical Compounds

TCEP (Tris(2-chloroethyl)phosphate): a chemical compound used as a flame retardant, plasticizer and viscosity regulator in various types of polymers including polyurethanes, polyester resins and polyacrylates.

TCPP (Tris(1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate): a chemical compound used as a flame retardant.

BPA (Bisphenol A): a chemical compound used as a plasticizer.

Nonyl phenol: a collection of compounds often used as a precursor to commercial detergents.

 

Water Softeners

 

NSF/ANSI 44: Cation Exchange Water Softeners

 

NSF/ANSI 44 establishes the minimum requirements for the certification of residential cation exchange water softeners designed to reduce hardness from public or private water supplies.

 

The scope of NSF/ANSI 44 includes material safety, structural integrity, accuracy of the brine system and the reduction of hardness and specific contaminants from a known quality water source. The most common claims addressed by NSF/ANSI 44 are barium reduction, radium 226/228 reduction and softener performance.

 

Ultraviolet (UV)

 

NSF/ANSI 55: Ultraviolet Microbiological Water Treatment Systems

 

NSF/ANSI 55 establishes the minimum requirements for the certification of point-of-use/point-of-entry (POU/POE) ultraviolet (UV) systems and includes two optional classifications:

 

Class A systems (40 mJ/cm2) are designed to disinfect and/or remove microorganisms, including bacteria and viruses, from contaminated water to a safe level. Class A systems may claim to disinfect water that may be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, viruses, Cryptosporidium or Giardia.

Class B systems (16 mJ/cm2) are designed for supplemental bactericidal treatment of public or other drinking water that has been deemed acceptable by a local health agency. Class B systems may claim to reduce normally occurring nuisance microorganisms.

 

Reverse Osmosis (RO)

 

NSF/ANSI 58: Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Treatment Systems

 

NSF/ANSI 58 establishes the minimum requirements for the certification of point-of-use (POU) reverse osmosis systems designed to reduce contaminants that may be present in public or private drinking water.

 

The scope of NSF/ANSI 58 includes material safety, structural integrity, total dissolved solids (TDS) reduction and other optional contaminant reduction claims. The most common optional claims addressed by NSF/ANSI 58 include cyst reduction, hexavalent and trivalent chromium reduction, arsenic reduction, nitrate/nitrite reduction, and cadmium and lead reduction.

 

NSF/ANSI 401: Emerging Compounds/Incidental Contaminants

 

NSF/ANSI 401 addresses the ability of a water treatment device to remove up to 15 individual contaminants (listed below), which have been identified in published studies as occurring in drinking water. 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.

 

Prescription Drugs

Meprobamate: a compound found in anti-anxiety drugs.

Phenytoin: an anti-epileptic drug.

Atenolol: a beta blocker drug.

Carbamazepine: an anti-convulsant and mood-stabilizing drug.

Trimethoprim: an antibiotic medication.

Estrone: a prescription birth control drug.

Over-the-Counter Medications

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.

Chemical Compounds

TCEP (Tris(2-chloroethyl)phosphate): a chemical compound used as a flame retardant, plasticizer and viscosity regulator in various types of polymers including polyurethanes, polyester resins and polyacrylates.

TCPP (Tris(1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate): a chemical compound used as a flame retardant.

BPA (Bisphenol A): a chemical compound used as a plasticizer.

Nonyl phenol: a collection of compounds often used as a precursor to commercial detergents.

 

NSF/ANSI 60

If you manufacture, sell or distribute water treatment chemicals in North America, your products are required to comply with NSF/ANSI 60: Drinking Water Treatment Chemicals – Health Effects by most governmental agencies that regulate drinking water supplies. Developed by a team of scientists, industry experts and key industry stakeholders, NSF/ANSI 60 sets health effects criteria for many water treatment chemicals including:

Corrosion and scale inhibitors

Coagulants and flocculants

Disinfection and oxidation chemicals

pH adjustment, softening, precipitation and sequestering chemicals

Well drilling aids

All other specialty chemicals used in drinking water treatment

 

NSF/ANSI 61

If you manufacture, sell or distribute water treatment or distribution products in North America, your products are required to comply with NSF/ANSI 61: Drinking Water System Components – Health Effects by most governmental agencies that regulate drinking water supplies. Developed by a team of scientists, industry experts and key industry stakeholders, NSF/ANSI 61 sets health effects criteria for many water system components including:

Protective barrier materials (cements, paints, coatings)

Joining and sealing materials (gaskets, adhesives, lubricants)

Mechanical devices (water meters, valves, filters)

Pipes and related products (pipe, hose, fittings)

Plumbing devices (faucets, drinking fountains)

Process media (filter media, ion exchange resins)

Non-metallic potable water materials

 

(all information is directly from NSF International)

 

Keep in mind that certification to an NSF/ANSI standard does not mean that a product is able to effectively reduce all possible contaminants. It’s important to verify that the product is certified under that standard for reduction of the specific impurities of most concern to you or your family.