Five certifiers seek to strengthen drinking water standards for unregulated chemicals

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ANN ARBOR, MI, April 17, 2013 -- To further protect public health, reduce duplicative costs, increase efficiency and promote transparency of human health risk assessment action levels, CSA Group, NSF International, IAPMO R&T, UL, and the Water Quality Association will now use harmonized procedures to develop action levels for unregulated chemical contaminants originating from products in contact with drinking water. The harmonized process will be used by all five certification organizations immediately.

Products that contact drinking water, such as pipes and treatment chemicals, treatment devices and faucets, can contribute chemicals to drinking water. In the late 1980s, NSF International developed American National Drinking Water Standards for chemicals and products that come in contact with drinking water (NSF/ANSI 60: Drinking water treatment chemicals -- Health effects and NSF/ANSI 61: Drinking water system components -- Health effects). Products certified to these standards do not contribute currently known chemical contaminants to drinking water at concentrations that could cause adverse health effects.

Chemicals for which action levels have not been established by the U.S. EPA, Health Canada or other authoritative body must have action levels established according to guidelines offered in NSF/ANSI Standards 60 and 61 to help ensure that products from which the chemicals extract do not pose a health risk. Previously, action levels for unregulated chemicals derived by different certification bodies have varied, resulting in inconsistencies in the product certification process.

The certifying organizations are working together to consolidate more than 650 previously established action levels and to harmonize the external peer review process for all future risk assessments through the assistance of the NSF Health Advisory Board (HAB), a group of renowned experts from the regulatory community, academia and industry. The mission and charge of the NSF HAB is:

  • Provide consensus peer review of documents supporting derivation of drinking water action levels
  • Review and accept defined methods for performing scientifically-sound human health risk assessments for inclusion in NSF/ANSI 60: Drinking water treatment chemicals -- Health effects and NSF/ANSI 61: Drinking water system components -- Health effects. Provide expert peer review, advice and guidance to the participating certification agencies on human health effects issues.

"By coming together and committing to new processes, the organizations will work diligently toward helping companies continue to develop and manufacture safer products," said Pauli Undesser, WQA Director of Regulatory and Technical Affairs. "This increased transparency and efficiency will reduce costs and potential liability for companies by establishing a consensus on action levels across certifiers."

Clif McLellan, Vice President of NSF International's Global Water Division and former Director of Toxicology for NSF, stated, "The harmonized list of action levels will also be available to help those outside the water treatment arena, such as those in academia and other industries, to better understand and react to chemicals in water."

About CSA Group

CSA Group is an independent, not-for-profit membership association dedicated to safety, social good and sustainability. Its knowledge and expertise encompass standards development; training and advisory solutions; global testing and certification services across key business areas including hazardous location and industrial, plumbing and construction, medical, safety and technology, appliances and gas, alternative energy, lighting and sustainability; as well as consumer product evaluation services. The CSA certification mark appears on billions of products worldwide. For more information about CSA Group visit http://www.csagroup.org.
Contact: Anthony Toderian, Manager of Corporate Affairs
Phone: 416-747-2620 Email: anthony.toderian(at)csagroup(dot)org

About NSF International

NSF International is a global independent organization that writes standards, and tests and certifies products for the food, water and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment (nsf.org). Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide. NSF led the development of the American national standards for all materials and products that treat or come in contact with drinking water. In 1990, the U.S. EPA replaced its own drinking water product advisory program with these NSF standards. Today, all major plumbing codes require certification to NSF standards for pipes and plumbing components in commercial and residential buildings. NSF International is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and has been collaborating with the World Health Organization since 1997 in water quality and safety, food safety and indoor environments.
Contact: Greta Houlahan, NSF International Sr. Communications Manager
Phone: 734-913-5723 Email: houlahan(at)nsf(dot)org

About IAPMO R&T

IAPMO R&T is North America's premier third-party certification agency for plumbing and mechanical products. Accredited by ANSI and SCC, IAPMO R&T’s Marks of Conformity are widely recognized as representing the highest degree of integrity in showing compliance with established international codes and standards. As the preferred listing agency of manufacturers, inspectors, and Authorities Having Jurisdiction, the IAPMO R&T brand and its reputation for quality are unparalleled in the industry. IAPMO R&T is part of The IAPMO Group, which coordinates the development and adaptation of plumbing, mechanical, swimming pool and solar energy codes to meet the specific needs of individual jurisdictions both in the United States and abroad. The provisions of its flagship document, the American National Standard-designated Uniform Plumbing Code® (UPC), protect in some fashion the health and safety of half the people on planet Earth.
Contact: Anish Desai, Director of Product Certification
Phone: 909-472-4121 Email: anish.desai(at)iapmort(dot)org

About UL

UL is a premier global independent safety science company with more than 118 years of history. Employing more than 10,000 professionals in over 100 countries, UL has five distinct business units — Product Safety, Environment, Life & Health, Knowledge Services and Verification Services — to meet the expanding needs of our customers and to deliver on our public safety mission. Additional information about UL may be found at UL.com.
Contact: Tom Bowman, Water Systems Program Manager
Phone: 847-664-3796 Email: Thomas.A.Bowman(at)ul(dot)com

About WQA

WQA (Water Quality Association) is a not-for-profit international trade organization representing the residential, commercial, and industrial water treatment industry. Its membership consists of both manufacturers as well as dealers/distributors of equipment. The WQA Gold Seal Certification Program was established in 1959 and is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). It is dedicated to providing public health and safety services in the US and throughout the world. Certification activities are carried out by qualified staff members who have all obtained the Certified Water Specialist (CWS) VI designation. WQA is a resource and information source, a voice for the industry, an educator of professionals, a laboratory for product testing, and a communicator with the public. http://www.wqa.org.
Contact: Dave Loveday, Director of Government Affairs & Communications
Phone: 630-505-0160 Email: dloveday(at)wqa(dot)org

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