Consumer Resources

As an independent global health and safety organization, NSF International tests and certifies products and writes standards for the food, water and consumer goods industries. Founded in 1944 as the National Sanitation Foundation, we changed our name to NSF International in 1990 as we expanded our services worldwide. The letters NSF do not represent any specific words today.

Emerging Water Contaminants Result in New Standard for Water Filters

In response to consumer concerns about a new class of emerging contaminants found in some drinking water supplies at trace levels, NSF International has launched a new drinking water standard.

Known as NSF/ANSI 401: Emerging Contaminants and Incidental Compounds, this new standard is designed to evaluate the ability of water treatment devices to effectively reduce several different types of emerging contaminants in drinking water, including some pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter medications, herbicides, pesticides and chemicals used in manufacturing like bisphenol-A (BPA).

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  • Open Is water packaged in #7 plastic bottles safe to drink?

    Products marked with a recycling code of “7” are produced from a wide variety of plastic materials. Basically, this category includes any plastics not specifically covered by recycling codes 1 through 6. Packaging made from a plastic material marked “7” (Other) is not necessarily considered less safe than others. In the U.S., plastics used for bottled water should meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations for the storage of foods and beverages. If you’re concerned about avoiding a particular ingredient such as BPA, contact the bottled water producer directly to inquire whether they use bottles that are made with or without that ingredient.

    A complete list of bottled water brands that are NSF certified is posted on the NSF website.

  • Open Do NSF certified clothes washers have to heat water to a certain temperature to sanitize clothing?

    The NSF certified sanitary cycle designation does not specify a minimum temperature that a clothes washer must achieve. Rather, machines are performance tested using three different organisms (S. aureus, K. pneumoniae, and P. aeruginosa) which are added to test swatches and then washed with a typical load of laundry. To achieve certification, the clothes washer must demonstrate a 3-log or 99.9 percent reduction of the test organisms during the wash cycle with no significant carryover of these organisms to subsequent loads.

  • Open Will products that are FDA approved also meet NSF/ANSI 61 requirements?

    Although the FDA doesn’t approve products, it does set standards for materials that come into contact with foods and beverages. When a company claims that its materials are FDA approved, it is most likely trying to indicate that its product is produced from materials that comply with FDA regulations for a specific end use, such as for contact with a beverage like juice or milk. This is not the same as NSF/ANSI 61 certification, which is based on EPA drinking water regulations. Under NSF/ANSI 61, products and materials undergo extraction testing to determine if any impurities are being introduced that could cause drinking water to become unsafe for consumption. The maximum allowed concentrations of impurities are based on U.S. EPA and/or Health Canada limits, whichever is stricter.

  • Open Why should I purchase NSF certified supplements?

    Many reports have been published showing that not all supplement products contain the ingredients or quantities shown on the label. In some cases, unlisted ingredients could pose a health risk, especially to those with allergies. To better protect yourself as a consumer, consider purchasing supplements that are NSF certified to contain the ingredients and quantities shown on the product label. Visit the NSF website for the full list of NSF certified supplements.

  • Open How can I determine how much of each contaminant a water filter reduces?

    Performance testing of home water treatment systems is done on a pass/fail basis. To earn certification for reduction of a specific contaminant, a product must be able to reduce that contaminant by the minimum amount shown in the applicable American National Standard. For example, to be certified for lead reduction under NSF/ANSI 53, a product must be able to reduce 150 ppb of lead to less than 10 ppb in the filtered water.

    For exact percentage reductions achieved by an individual system, please check directly with the manufacturer.

  • Open To what temperature should foods be reheated so that they are safe to eat?

    Previously cooked foods, including foods containing previously cooked ingredients, need to be reheated until the internal temperature reaches at least 165° F.

  • Open Where can I get a certificate confirming a product is NSF certified?

    NSF International doesn’t issue certificates or other documents as proof of NSF certification for most individual products. Rather, proof of NSF certification is provided by listing the product on our website. Because certification is an ongoing process that must be renewed annually, our online listings change daily.

  • Open What does the term organic mean?

    Organic refers to how a product is produced, i.e. without using conventional pesticides, irradiation or fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or bioengineering. For example, organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products can only be produced from animals that are not given antibiotics or growth hormones and are fed 100 percent organic feed. Organic doesn’t necessarily mean that a product is free of something, but rather that it has been produced without using prohibited methods.

  • Open Is copper ionization an effective method to disinfect pool water?

    Several companies have earned NSF certification for their disinfection systems, including copper or copper/silver ionization systems, ozone generators and ultraviolet disinfection systems. Search for NSF certified pool disinfection systems in the NSF online listings.

    Under NSF/ANSI 50, copper and copper/silver ionization systems are intended for supplemental disinfection of pool/spa water and need to be used in conjunction with small amounts of chlorine or bromine as indicated in the official listing for each product.

  • Open How do I choose a composting toilet for a small on-farm office?

    The three types of composting toilet systems covered by NSF/ANSI 41 include:

    Day use park - Day-use park systems are intended for use in day parks, roadside stops and other similar settings where the percentage of urine events is estimated to be six times greater than the number of fecal events. Performance testing is conducted based on the number of total uses per day, not on the number of individual users.

    Residential use - These systems are generally intended for use in a home setting. Performance testing is conducted based on the assumption that the toilet will be used for an average of four urine events and 1.2 fecal events per day per household member.

    Cottage - These systems are intended for intermittent use in a cabin or cottage setting. Performance testing is based on the same event criteria per household member as for residential use units, but with the assumption that the unit will be used on average two consecutive days per week rather than seven.

    Search for companies that produce NSF certified composting toilets in the NSF online listings (by selecting Non-Liquid Saturated Treatment Systems (NSF/ANSI Standard 41) from the Product Standard dropdown menu.

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