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NSF and National Science Foundation to Host Groundbreaking Legionella Conference

First-of-a-kind conference brings together experts from diverse fields of study to discuss proper management of building water systems for prevention of Legionella outbreaks

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – NSF, a global public health and safety organization, is hosting Legionella Conference 2018 – Managing Legionella and Other Pathogens in Building Water Systems on May 9-11, 2018, in Baltimore, Maryland. The three-day conference is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and marks the first time experts from industry, academia, public health, medicine and government will meet to discuss Legionella and other pathogens found in water distribution systems, building water plumbing systems and cooling towers.

Legionella Conference attendees will discuss and learn the latest monitoring, treatment and management approaches for successfully preventing the spread of Legionella in buildings, hospitals and other at-risk facilities.

The conference will feature more than 40 speakers, including representatives of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state organizations and various technical, mitigation and plumbing groups. Topics will cover biofilms, analytical techniques for detection and quantification, management technologies, prevention techniques, risk assessment, and state and federal guidance and requirements.

“Prevention of Legionnaires’ disease is a complex challenge that requires a team-based approach to be successful as no single industry or profession can solve this issue on its own. The goal of the Legionella Conference is to gather together all the different stakeholders and a diverse group of experts and thought leaders to share ideas and discuss ways of detecting, mitigating and preventing Legionella outbreaks,” said Dave Purkiss, Vice President of the Global Water Division at NSF. “We’re bringing together everyone involved in building operations – from building owners and managers to members of the engineering and HVAC communities, along with regulators, specifiers and government officials.”

In the last year, more than 6,000 Americans were diagnosed with the waterborne disease, which is caused by inhaling small water droplets contaminated with Legionella bacteria. According to a recent study by the CDC, bacteria responsible for Legionnaires’ disease are common in cooling towers throughout the United States. The CDC found that nine out of 10 outbreaks could have been avoided if a properly designed and implemented water management plan had been in place.

“The CDC’s outbreak investigations study makes clear that these are preventable illnesses and deaths,” said Chris Boyd, General Manager of Building Water Health Programs at NSF. “As an industry, we need to move from a reactive approach to a proactive model focused on prevention. It should no longer be acceptable to use increases in illness and death as the sentinel data that triggers investigations and response. We must begin responding to building water system risks before an outbreak occurs. With the right approach of hazard assessment, process controls, detection and corrective action, we can stop Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks before they occur and before they take lives.”

For more information or to register to attend the conference, please visit Conference attendees are encouraged to present new innovations, research and data. The call for submissions is open until Feb. 23, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Editor’s Note: For media interviews, please contact Thomas Frey, APR, at or +1 (734) 214-6242.

NSF International is a global public health organization that develops standards and tests and certifies products for the food, water, 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. With operations in more than 170 countries, NSF is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center on Food Safety, Water Quality and Indoor Environment.

NSF’s global water programs provide risk assessments, testing, inspection and certification services for the water industry from source to tap. NSF led the development of the American National Standards for all materials and products that treat or come in contact with drinking water to help protect public health and the environment and minimize adverse health effects. In 1990, the U.S. EPA replaced its own drinking water product advisory program with these NSF standards.

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