First Water Filters That Reduce PFOA and PFOS Now NSF Certified
Earlier this year, the U.S. EPA established standards for PFOA and PFOS, fluorinated organic chemicals found in a number of industrial processes and products. With the establishment of the EPA levels, global public health organization NSF International developed a test method and protocol — P473: Drinking Water Treatment Units - PFOA and PFOS — to verify a water treatment device’s ability to reduce perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) to below the health advisory levels set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
PFOA and PFOS are fluorinated organic chemicals that are part of a larger group of chemicals referred to as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). They have been used to manufacture carpets, clothing, cookware, fabrics for furniture and paper packaging that are resistant to water, grease or stains. They are also used for firefighting at airports and in a number of industrial processes.
In recent years, peer-reviewed studies and news reports have raised consumer awareness of PFOA and PFOS in public drinking water supplies. Exposure to PFOA and PFOS over certain levels may result in adverse health effects, including developmental effects to fetuses or to breastfed infants, cancer, liver damage, immune disorders, thyroid disorders and other adverse effects. Both PFOA and PFOS are on the EPA Contaminate Candidate List, CCL 3.
In May 2016, the EPA established health advisory levels for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water at 70 parts per trillion. When both PFOA and PFOS are found in drinking water, the combined concentrations should not exceed the 70 parts per trillion health advisory level.
A total of 17 Aquasana, Inc. drinking water filters are the first products to earn NSF certification to the protocol.
“Our mission is to deliver the healthiest water possible, and that means working with NSF International to stay ahead of the increasing types of contaminants affecting our nation’s water supply by providing the very best filtration technology and performance,” said Todd Bartee, CEO of Aquasana, Inc. “Aquasana is leading the charge as the first to offer families a premium product that is NSF certified to protect against PFOA contamination."
NSF International developed the PFOA and PFOS test protocol at the request of regulatory agencies and manufacturers. Water treatment devices certified to P473: Drinking Water Treatment Units - PFOA and PFOS are designed to provide an additional barrier of protection against these chemicals and to supplement the treatment of drinking water. Currently, the scope of the protocol includes testing methods for water treatment technologies like point-of-use carbon-based and reverse osmosis treatment systems. People using the municipal water system should always follow instructions provided by their water utility, even if a certified filter is being used.
To earn NSF International certification to P473, water treatment systems, including water filters, must undergo extensive testing to confirm that they meet the strict material safety and structural requirements of NSF/ANSI 53, an American National Standard for drinking water treatment units. Reverse osmosis systems must also meet all of the requirements of NSF/ANSI 58. In accordance with these standards, NSF International verifies that:
- The contaminant reduction claims for PFOA and PFOS shown on the label are true.
- The system does not add anything harmful to the water.
- The system is structurally sound.
- The product labeling, advertising and literature are not misleading.
To make a PFOA/PFOS reduction claim, a water filter must be able to reduce these chemicals to below the EPA healthy advisory limit of 70 parts per trillion. Certified products must be retested periodically and manufacturing facilities must be inspected every year, which ensures products continue to meet all requirements.
“NSF International has been developing national standards, testing and certifying products for more than 70 years,” said Tina Yerkes, General Manager of Filtration Programs at NSF International. “Our new protocol gives manufacturers a way to independently verify that their water treatment technologies can effectively reduce PFOA and PFOS to levels below those set by the EPA. This will help consumers choose a water treatment device that fits their needs and be confident it can reduce these specific contaminants as the manufacturer claims.”
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Companies: U.S. EPA