· 7 min read
In the 1970s, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had a program in place to issue letters of approval for drinking water treatment chemicals — but this program was just for some types of chemicals and involved a material ingredient review only. As times progressed and public health issues continued to grow, an increase in testing, inspection and standardization were necessary. A related need was regulating the delivery of water to homes.
In 1986, the EPA awarded NSF the project to facilitate the development of two standards: Drinking Water Treatment Chemicals – Health Effects (Now known as NSF/ANSI/CAN 60) and Drinking Water System Components – Health Effects (Now known as NSF/ANSI/CAN 61). Here are a few things you may not have known about these two standards that changed the landscape of protecting and improving public health:
Before the facilitation of the development of these standards, NSF had already worked with the water industry, including plastic plumbing, pool treatment and even wastewater for marine craft back in the 1960s.
The original Annex G of NSF/ANSI/CAN 61 was adopted in 2008 by the joint committee responsible for maintaining this standard. There were four states (California, Vermont, Maryland and Louisiana) that had adopted lower limits on lead content in plumbing, and this update to the standard allowed manufacturers to show compliance with those states’ requirements.
NSF/ANSI/CAN 600 contains criteria that were previously published under NSF/ANSI 60, Annexes A and C, and NSF/ANSI 61, Annexes A and D. In 2018, NSF/ANSI/CAN 600 was developed to increase the accessibility of this information and create a single source for the multiple drinking water standards that reference these criteria.
NSF/ANSI/CAN 60 has been published 33 times since its initial adoption in 1987. NSF/ANSI/CAN 61 has been published 47 times since its first adoption in 1988. These publications allow the standard to be updated and kept current to meet industry and regulatory needs and foster innovation and continuous improvement.
Certification or compliance to NSF/ANSI/CAN 60 is required by 49 U.S. states as well as in Canadian provinces/territories (nine for NSF 60 and 11 for NSF 61) and various countries around the world, from the local to the national level.
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This article covers frequently asked questions about certified components and how the certification process differs from end-product certification.