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Letter to the Editor: Fighting Legionella Is About Saving Lives

In response to John Wisely's July 5 article in the Detroit Free Press ("Ethics charges could hurt fight against Legionnaires' disease"), it's important to note that NSF's nearly 75-year mission is protecting public health and safety – in other words, saving lives. Although Legionnaires' disease is the deadliest waterborne disease in the U.S., it is almost completely preventable if buildings have a proper water safety plan in place. NSF's Standards group is helping to facilitate the development of a national standard aimed at preventing Legionella from forming in plumbing systems. Sadly, three people at Wayne State University contracted Legionnaires' disease this summer and testing there confirmed presence of the bacteria in potable water systems and cooling towers. NSF also recently held a national health conference on Legionella control attended by 450 public health officials, scientists, water systems engineers, hospital administrators and others. As these efforts show, we are steadfastly devoted to preventing the growing threat of Legionella, but we can do so only with the help of representatives from government, academia, industry and the public. We call on all interested parties to help us fight Legionella and ultimately help save hundreds, if not thousands, of lives every year.

By Kevan Lawlor, President and CEO, NSF

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