Our History

Since 1944, NSF has worked to improve human and planet health by developing and implementing public and environmental health standards.

Key Milestones in our History

From a vision shared by three people dedicated to improving our quality of life has grown over 80 years into a global organisation committed to improving human and planet health.

1940s: Quality of Life

Three forward-looking scientists came together with a shared vision. To improve quality of life. In 1944, Walter Snyder, Henry Vaughan, and Nathan Sinai established the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) within the University of Michigan School of Public Health, dedicated to scientific research for the purpose of sound improvements in sanitation.

1950s: Public Health Pioneers

NSF formed the Council of Public Health Consultants, and introduced NSF Standards 1 and 2, marking the inception of food equipment standards.

1960s: Safe Water Systems

1960 saw the commencement of the plastics piping, and wastewater treatment programmes, and our pools and spas programme.

In 1967, NSF Testing Laboratories transitioned into a not-for-profit corporation.

1970s: On the Move

NSF starts its drinking water treatment units programme, cosponsors the prestigious Walter F. Snyder Award for Attaining Environmental Quality with the National Environmental Health Association, and moves into new headquarters and principal laboratories in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

1980s: Nina takes the helm

Passionate public health advocate, Nina McLelland, takes the helm of NSF in 1980. Under her leadership, NSF began to expand internationally. A highly respected leader and accomplished scientist, she played an essential role in developing safe drinking water standards that are used worldwide. Additionally, NSF Standards 60 and 61 were adopted by all US States and Canadian provinces following the US Safe Drinking Water Act during this decade.

1990s: Global Recognition

NSF becomes a Collaborating Center on Drinking Water Safety and Treatment by the World Health Organisation (WHO), and accreditation is bestowed on NSF by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). We also established the Center for Public Health Education, as well as NSF-ISR.

2000s: Expanding Horizons

NSF ventures into programmes for managing food safety across the supply chain with the acquisition of Cook & Thurber, LLC, and the pharmaceutical and biotech industries with the acquisition of David Begg Associates, as well as a new programme for the environmental performance of products, operations, systems, and supply chains.

We opened the doors to our Shanghai office and introduced a number of initiatives in the dietary supplements field, including Certified for Sport®.

2010s: Digital Innovation

NSF launches new programmes that enhance consumer trust in cosmetics products, home kitchen equipment, and automotive aftermarket parts’ quality, safety, and performance.

Two innovative solutions are launched: NSF TraQtion – a SaaS offering for quality and compliance, and EyeSucceed – augmented reality smart glass solutions for remote auditing, training and operations.

In 2019, NSF attained LEED Gold® certification for our Ann Arbor headquarters' labs and office space.

2020s: Leading the way

NSF launches Checked by NSF™ – an independent verification of businesses’ COVID-19 preventative measures

Pedro Sancha joins as President and CEO of NSF in 2022, the same year we launched NSF programme 391.1 - the only ESG certification specifically designed for the professional services sector.

Additionally, NSF expanded our mission to improve both human and planet health, launching new programmes to support a more sustainable food supply chain and health technologies, address water scarcity and “forever” chemicals, as well as helping our clients develop robust sustainability and information security strategies.

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