NSF International Certifies First Water Filters That Reduce PFOA and PFOS in Drinking Water
New protocol certifies products proven effective for reducing PFOA and PFOS to below EPA health advisory levels
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Global public health organization NSF International has developed a test method and protocol — P473: Drinking Water Treatment Units - PFOA and PFOS — to verify a water treatment device’s ability to reduce perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) to below the health advisory levels set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A total of 17 Aquasana, Inc. drinking water filters are the first products to earn certification to the protocol.
PFOA and PFOS are fluorinated organic chemicals that are part of a larger group of chemicals referred to as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). They have been used to manufacture carpets, clothing, cookware, fabrics for furniture and paper packaging that are resistant to water, grease or stains. They are also used for firefighting at airports and in a number of industrial processes.
In recent years, peer-reviewed studies and news reports have raised consumer awareness of PFOA and PFOS in public drinking water supplies. Exposure to PFOA and PFOS over certain levels may result in adverse health effects, including developmental effects to fetuses or to breastfed infants, cancer, liver damage, immune disorders, thyroid disorders and other adverse effects. Both PFOA and PFOS are on the EPA Contaminate Candidate List, CCL 3.
In May 2016, the EPA established health advisory levels for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water at 70 parts per trillion. When both PFOA and PFOS are found in drinking water, the combined concentrations should not exceed the 70 parts per trillion health advisory level.
“Our mission is to deliver the healthiest water possible, and that means working with NSF International to stay ahead of the increasing types of contaminants affecting our nation’s water supply by providing the very best filtration technology and performance,” said Todd Bartee, CEO of Aquasana, Inc. “Aquasana is leading the charge as the first to offer families a premium product that is NSF certified to protect against PFOA contamination."
NSF International developed the PFOA and PFOS test protocol at the request of regulatory agencies and manufacturers. Water treatment devices certified to P473: Drinking Water Treatment Units - PFOA and PFOS are designed to provide an additional barrier of protection against these chemicals and to supplement the treatment of drinking water. Currently, the scope of the protocol includes testing methods for water treatment technologies like point-of-use carbon-based and reverse osmosis treatment systems. People using the municipal water system should always follow instructions provided by their water utility, even if a certified filter is being used.
To earn NSF International certification to P473, water treatment systems, including water filters, must undergo extensive testing to confirm that they meet the strict material safety and structural requirements of NSF/ANSI 53, an American National Standard for drinking water treatment units. Reverse osmosis systems must also meet all of the requirements of NSF/ANSI 58. In accordance with these standards, NSF International verifies that:
- The contaminant reduction claims for PFOA and PFOS shown on the label are true.
- The system does not add anything harmful to the water.
- The system is structurally sound.
- The product labeling, advertising and literature are not misleading.
To make a PFOA/PFOS reduction claim, a water filter must be able to reduce these chemicals to below the EPA healthy advisory limit of 70 parts per trillion. Certified products must be retested periodically and manufacturing facilities must be inspected every year, which ensures products continue to meet all requirements.
“NSF International has been developing national standards, testing and certifying products for more than 70 years,” said Tina Yerkes, General Manager of Filtration Programs at NSF International. “Our new protocol gives manufacturers a way to independently verify that their water treatment technologies can effectively reduce PFOA and PFOS to levels below those set by the EPA. This will help consumers choose a water treatment device that fits their needs and be confident it can reduce these specific contaminants as the manufacturer claims.”
The following Aquasana, Inc. drinking water filters are the first products to earn certification to the protocol:
For more information about P473: Drinking Water Treatment Units - PFOA and PFOS, please contact Tina Yerkes, General Manager of Filtration Programs at NSF International, at email@example.com or +1.734.418-6596.
To find products certified for reduction of PFOA and PFOS, visit the official NSF certification listings or call NSF International’s consumer information specialist at 1.800.673.8010 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s Note: To schedule an interview with an NSF International expert on drinking water filtration, contact Liz Nowland-Margolis at email@example.com or +1 734.418.6624.
About NSF International: NSF International (nsf.org) is a global independent organization that develops standards, and tests and certifies products to these standards for the water, food, health sciences and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment. Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide. Operating in more than 165 countries, NSF International is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center on Food Safety, Water Quality and Indoor Environment.
NSF International 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, most major plumbing codes require certification to NSF standards for pipes and plumbing components in commercial and residential buildings.