North American Code Requirements for Plastic Pipes and Fittings

  • Overview
  • Benefits of Certification
  • Why Work with NSF?
  • Certification Process

Compliance to NSF/ANSI 14: Plastics Piping System Components and Related Materials is required by all major plumbing codes including the Uniform Plumbing Code, the National Standard Plumbing Code and the International Plumbing and Residential Code.

NSF/ANSI 14 establishes minimum physical, performance, health effects, quality assurance, marking and recordkeeping requirements for plastic piping components and related materials such as:

  • Thermoplastic materials
  • Thermoset materials
  • Non-plastic components
  • Piping and tubing
  • Fittings and valves
  • Appurtenances
  • Joining materials and gaskets
  • Ingredients of materials
  • Special engineered products and materials

NSF International has the qualifications and reputation to help your business meet the needs of the market and get the recognition and acceptance that is critical to your company’s success.

Benefits of Certification

Certification to NSF/ANSI 14 ensures your product meets regulatory requirements for plastic pipes and fittings across North America. NSF test data collected can be used to demonstrate product quality and for certification with other agencies, such as ASME, ASSE, ASTM, AWWA, CAS, DIN, IAPMO, ISO and UL.

Why Work with NSF?

In addition to being acknowledged by every plumbing code in North America, NSF is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI-Accredited Product Certification Body - Accreditation #0216) and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) for its testing, standards development and certification programs.

NSF certification includes:

  • NSF mark recognition, faster market access and expedited regulatory acceptance
  • Third-party confirmation, reducing potential liability issues
  • Ongoing support related to technical development and regulatory requirements
  • Online listing of certified products, including product type, product trade name, manufacturer name and location

Certification Process

While our product evaluations are thorough, our process is simple and efficient. A dedicated NSF project manager serves as your single point of contact from application to approval for a streamlined, efficient certification process.

  1. Your company submits an application.
  2. Your company and suppliers provide formulation, design specifications and product end use information.
  3. We review formulation and engineering specifications.
  4. We perform a plant audit and sample collection.
  5. We conduct laboratory testing.
  6. We grant certification for compliant products.
  7. Our follow-up program includes unannounced inspections and annual testing.

Our experts can help you reduce your overall costs and expedite your time to market by bundling services and reducing the number of contracted service providers and facility audits.

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  • Open How do I know plastic plumbing products are safe for use?

    Most state drinking water regulations and local plumbing codes require PE and PEX tubing and fittings conveying drinking water to meet NSF/ANSI Standard 61 to ensure components will not contribute harmful levels of contaminants to drinking water. All U.S. model plumbing codes and 46 of the 50 U.S. states require PVC drinking water system components to meet the requirements of NSF/ANSI Standard 61.

  • Open What is NSF/ANSI Standard 61?

    NSF/ANSI Standard 61: Drinking Water System Components-Health Effects is the American National Standard for health effects of drinking water system components. It establishes the health effects requirements for the chemical contaminants and impurities that are indirectly imparted to drinking water from products, components and materials used in drinking water systems.

    NSF/ANSI Standard 61 is overseen by the NSF Drinking Water Additives Joint Committee comprised of representation from the regulatory community, the manufacturing industry and user groups. The American National Standards Institute accredits NSF standards development procedures to ensure a balanced committee of stakeholders develops the standards in an open process. The NSF Council of Public Health Consultants, a group of 30 representatives from academia and local, state and federal regulatory agencies, provides technical advice on and oversight of the NSF standards.

    The NSF Health Advisory Board is a standing task group that consists of toxicologists from the U.S. EPA, Health Canada, state and provincial agencies, industry and private consulting firms. This group is responsible for reviewing and approving all allowable contaminant concentrations that are published in NSF/ANSI Standard 61.

  • Open What is NSF/ANSI Standard 14?

    NSF/ANSI Standard 14: Plastic Piping System Components and Related Materials is a consensus standard that enables comprehensive assessment of plumbing system products, materials and ingredients. The assessment is for health effects, quality control, quality assurance, marking, material property requirements, long-term strength evaluation and short-term product performance evaluation to various standards such as ASME, ASTM, ASSE, etc.

    NSF/ANSI 14 is used to evaluate a product for minimum performance requirements. NSF conducts its own testing, review and facility inspections when certifying products. If the product is to be used with potable water, it is also evaluated to NSF/ANSI Standard 61 to meet the NSF/ANSI Standard 14 potable water requirements. NSF/ANSI Standard 14 addresses health and performance, NSF/ANSI Standard 61 only addresses health effect concerns.

  • Open How are plastic pipe, fittings and system components tested?

    First, we perform a formulation review of the material to determine what possible contaminants could leach out into drinking water and what type of chemical extraction testing is necessary. Our policy does not allow lead as an ingredient within plastic pipe formulations.

    We expose products to formulated exposure waters, and then analyze these exposure waters for contaminants. We use three separate formulated waters during product exposure: pH 5.0 and pH 10.0 (with 2 mg/L available chlorine for PE pipe and fittings) for extraction of metallic contaminants, and pH 8.0 for organic-based contaminants.

    PE products are tested at an ambient temperature of 73° F (23° C). PEX tubing samples containing water are heated to 140° F (60° C) for domestic hot water systems or 180° F (82° C) for commercial hot systems.

    Products are conditioned by exposure to the formulated waters (with the addition of 2 mg/L available chlorine for PE products) for 14 days, with water being changed on 10 of those days.  We then analyze the water collected from the final 16-hour exposure period for contaminants.  Any contaminants found must be below EPA or Health Canada levels for regulated contaminants.  For non-regulated contaminants found, NSF/ANSI Standard 61 sets health based pass/fail levels based on review of available toxicity data using the risk assessment procedures in annex A of the standard.

  • Open What types of analyses are performed on PEX tubing?

    Water exposed to PEX tubing and associated fitting systems is tested for the following contaminants as required by NSF/ANSI Standard 61:

    • VOCs (Volatile organic compounds)
    • Semi-volatile compounds (base neutral acid scan by gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy)
    • Phenolics
    • Regulated metals including antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, selenium and thallium
    • Methanol
    • Tertiary butyl alcohol
    • MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether)
    • Any other potential contaminant identified during the formulation review

    These test methods are capable of detecting contaminants in water as low as 4 parts per billion (4 ppb) and lower, equivalent to a 0.0000004 percent concentration.

    PEX tubing and various fittings, either plastic or metal, are tested together as systems for performance and health effects in accordance with industry standards to ensure product quality and end-user safety.

    Both the product manufacturer and independent third parties conduct routine quality control and quality assurance evaluations to ensure the product meets ASTM and NSF/ANSI standards. Compliance with ASTM F 876 and F 877 as well as NSF/ANSI Standard 14 ensures the end user of safety and quality.

  • Open What types of analyses are performed on PE pipe and fittings?

    Water exposed to PE pipe or fittings is tested for the following contaminants as required by NSF/ANSI 61:

    • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
    • Semi-volatile compounds (base/neutral/acid target and scan by GC/MS)
    • Regulated metals including antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, selenium and thallium
    • Any other potential contaminant identified during the formulation review
  • Open What types of analyses are performed on PVC products?

    Water exposed to PVC products is tested for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), phenolics, residual chloride monomer (RVCM), antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, selenium, tin, thallium, phthalates (for flexible PVCs) and any other potential contaminant identified during the formulation review.

  • Open How do I know if plastic plumbing products meet this requirement?

    Plastic pipe, fittings and system components meeting the health effects requirements of NSF/ANSI Standard 61 bear either the NSF-61 mark or the NSF-pw (potable water) mark on the print string.  The NSF-pw mark indicates the product meets the health requirements of NSF/ANSI 61 as well as the performance, long-term strength and quality control requirements of NSF/ANSI Standard 14: Plastic Piping Components and Related Materials.

    If a PEX product has only an NSF-rfh mark, this indicates the product has only been evaluated for radiant floor heating applications.

    If a PVC product has only an NSF-dwv or NSF-sewer mark, the product has only been evaluated for drain, waste and vent applications or for sewer applications, respectively.

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