What is NSF Certified For Water Treatment Systems?

Meta: What is NSF Certified for Water Treatment Systems? If you are quite unfamiliar with this term, follow this article for more information! 

We all might have come across the phrase “NSF Certified” while searching for a water treatment solution. So, what is NSF Certified for Water Treatment Systems? NSF is a certification that assures the best filter and helps you make an informed buying decision for your house when buying a water filter. 

However, there is much more to know about NSF. Do not hesitate to check out our detailed article to learn more about this term; let’s get started!

r detailed article to learn more about this term; let’s get started!

Water treatment system

Water treatment system

What is NSF Certified for Water Treatment Systems?

NSF stands for  National Sanitation Foundation, founded in 1944 as a non-profit organization providing public health and environmental protection standards. 

Today, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has accredited and allowed this NSF International to operate as the top reliable third-party certification and testing organization for water and food quality. 

What is NSF Certified

What is NSF certified?

Specifically, NSF certification in water filter manufacturers assures consumers and retailers that those products have exceeded or met NSF’s standards for the water treatment systems. 

These standards comply with all the public health criteria, sanitation, and food safety requirements.  These formal guidelines can apply to all products that have an intended purpose or a specific design.

To achieve an NSF-certified mark, a company can send its products to the organization for testing analysis. They might use it in their advertised product once getting approval. 

Please remember that this payment is for the testing, not the certification. The NSF is under no obligation to certify any unworthy item as it works independently and non profitably without affiliation with any industry. That’s why it always ensures a fair, unbiased testing manner.

What Are The Standards For NSF Certification? 

NSF/ANSI Standard 55: Ultraviolet Microbiological Water Treatment Systems

NSF/ANSI standard 55 is for ultraviolet microbiological water treatment systems. It has two optional classifications, including:  

  • Class A systems (40mJ/cm2): to disinfect contaminated water with protozoa or viruses.
  • Class B systems (16mJ/cm2): to treat supplemental bacteria for public or drinking water that have gotten the approval of a local health agency. Besides, these systems can diminish nuisance microorganisms. 

The BC regional health authorities indicate that any small UV water systems certified to NSF/ANSI class A standard 55 may provide a minimum dose of 40 mJ/cm2 to inactive protozoa. 

NSF/ANSI Standard 60: Drinking Water Treatment Chemicals – Health Effects

NSF/ANSI Standard 60 addresses the health effects implications for drinking water treatment chemicals. 

It ensures that only a small amount of contaminants and impurities within the approved levels will be imparted indirectly to the finished water. Of course, the above-certified chemicals are safe for drinking purposes. 

Here are what this standard covers for the treatment of drinking water:  

  • Scale control and corrosion chemicals
  • Flocculation and coagulation chemicals
  • Oxidation and disinfection chemicals
  • Well-drilling products
  • pH adjustment, softening, precipitation, and sequestering chemicals
  • All other miscellaneous chemicals used in drinking water treatment

According to the BC  regional health authorities, companies must use chemicals complying with the NSF standard 60 for regulated drinking water systems. This regulation aims at the customers’ safety. 

NSF/ANSI Standard 61: Drinking Water System Components – Health Effects

When it comes to the NSF/ANSI standard 61, it relates to setting health effects criteria for water system components and materials.

This standard addresses the safety level of drinking water system components, limiting the product materials that many manufacturing plants use for drinking water to migrate or leach from the material or product into the finished water. Besides, the number of materials must not exceed the acceptable level as well. 

There are many common water system components, including:

  • Protective barrier materials, such as paints, cement, and coatings
  • Joining and sealing materials, such as gaskets, lubricants, and adhesives
  • Mechanical devices, such as water meters, filters, and valves
  • Pipes and related products, such as hose, fittings
  • Plumbing devices, such as faucets, drinking fountains
  • Process media, such as filter media, ion exchange resins
  • Other non-metallic potable water materials

Like other NSF standards, the BC regional health authorities also make the NSF/ANSI standard 61 compulsory treatment components in regulated drinking water systems. Drinking water products that meet the above standard are NSF-certified and safe for customers to use. 

NSF/ANSI Standard 372: Drinking Water System Components – Lead Content

NSF/ANSI Standard 372: Drinking Water System Components – Lead Content tests the lead content in drinking water products and ensures it meets the suitable level according to the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).  

Specifically, the approved level of the lead content in wet surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, and plumbing fittings is under 0.25%. We can conclude that any products that demonstrate the compatibility of this standard are lead-free and safe to drink.

NSF/ANSI Residential Drinking Water Treatment Standards

In addition, NSF certification also sets health performance requirements for both point-of-use and point-of-entry systems. They include ceramic filters, pleated filters, shower filters, adsorptive media, ion exchange, reverse osmosis, distillation, ultraviolet (UV), and reduction-oxidation (redox). 

The BC Ministry of Health does not require private residential drinking water to meet the treatment standards. But it is advisable to prioritize NSF-certified products to diminish any potential health problems. 

Related article:
What Is A Water Distiller And How Does It Work? – Best Water Treatment
What Is A Water Softener And How Does It Work? – A Full Explanation

How to Recognize the Difference Between “NSF Certified”  And “Certified to NSF Standards”?

Difference Between "NSF Certified"  And "Certified to NSF Standards

NSF-certified label

NSF-certified product is the first measure while comparing water treatment technologies. It is quite easy to know if a product is NSF-certified by checking the NSF certification seal on the packaging. Then, you can double-check this specific product on the NSF website. 

However, it is not enough to acknowledge the NSF certification. A further step is necessary to ensure that you have the best system. It’s because some companies use easily mistaken phrases to claim the product performance, such as “tested according to NSF standards” or “certified to NSF standards.” 

Stay alert about this trick by following these two steps: 

Ask the Question Yourself

Regarding products having the phrase “certified to NSF standards,” these are some questions you should ask before purchasing: 

Who was responsible for doing the product testing? 

Which steps did the testing process include? 

Who checked and certified the test results? 

How often were the inspections done? 

Was the laboratory certified? 

Did the tests perform for the entire life cycle of the filter? 

Was the quality of housing and parts checked? 

What amount of contaminant was added to the water? 

How many gallons of water was utilized to serve the inspections? 

“Tested according to NSF standards” or “certified to NSF standards” is considered internal, manufacturer-controlled testing. As such, the results will not ensure the unbiased and impartial manner that we have mentioned above. For example, some companies only test a few gallons of water and lie on their performance claims to confirm the standards. 

Test NSF certification

The exact NSF testing and certification have lots of stages and criteria. When it comes to drinking water treatment systems, here are what it verifies:  

  • The laboratory has to test from the first to the last drop of water to demonstrate that the contaminant reduction claims are true.
  • The filter, housing, and parts don’t leach anything harmful into the water.
  • The water treatment system must be structurally sound.
  • Any information on the product labeling, advertising, or literature is correct without misleading consumers. 
  • The manufacturers have to keep the materials and production process to ensure the consistency of product quality over time. 

Apart from checking the product submitted to NSF International for testing, this organization also conducts unpredictable manufacturing examinations. 

Specifically, NSF inspectors will choose a random manufacturing plant and take both literature and product out of the manufacturing and assembly lines to do the tests. This act makes sure that the product they send to test and the ones available on the market are the same. 

Another way to confirm the similarity between the tested and sold literature is to purchase a product in a store directly or through its website. 

It is worth mentioning that the phrases “tested according to NSF standards” or “certified to NSF standards” that some companies use for their products are not exactly like the “NSF certified” one.  

Instead, they attempt to utilize the integrity and popularity of the true NSF certification to help their products gain reputation and recognition from the customers. 

In particular, they will not have to submit their products and pay a fee to go through the rigorous certification process. If users lack knowledge about this field, they will mistake the unproven products for the certified ones and make a poor purchasing decision.   


Choose a drinking water treatment system with NSF certification

Choose a drinking water treatment system with NSF certification

With this article, we hope the question “What is NSF Certified for Water Treatment Systems?” seems much easier to answer now. If there is anything you should learn by heart from this article, it is the fact that any products with the official NSF certification label are more reliable than those without NSF approval. 

As such, you will be more confident while choosing a suitable water treatment system for your family. Good luck!

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