Reducing lead levels in drinking water continues to be an important goal for governments, communities and individuals, especially for our most sensitive populations: infants and children.
The Drinking Water Additives Joint Committee that oversees NSF/ANSI/CAN 61 voted to reduce the acceptable amount of lead leaching from endpoint devices. Endpoint devices include devices present in the last liter of the drinking water system, such as faucets, flexible connectors and stop valves. These products are covered by Section 9 of NSF/ANSI/CAN 61 and are evaluated to a statistical calculation known as the Q criterion for lead extraction.
The Q criterion represents the average dose of lead (in μg) that may be leached from a mechanical plumbing device. The original criterion of 5 μg for endpoint devices and 3 μg for supply stops, flexible plumbing connectors and components was reduced to 1 μg and 0.5 μg, respectively. Lead leaching limits are now five times more protective than the previous standard.
This change is reflected in NSF/ANSI/CAN 61 - 2020 and specifies a lower Q (lead extraction) requirement for Section 9 as an optional requirement. Products that meet the new criterion will be identified in the product listing and must indicate this compliance on consumer-facing product packaging or labeling. On January 1, 2024, these optional requirements become mandatory for certification to NSF/ANSI/CAN 61, Section 9. Products that do not meet the reduced Q criterion at this time will no longer be certified under NSF 61, Section 9.