The next time you take a sip of a refreshing glass of water, you may consider the standards that make your H2O safer to drink. Newly published changes to NSF/ANSI/CAN 61, a drinking water product standard required in the United States and Canada, lowers maximum allowable limits of lead that can leach from plumbing products, ANSI member and audited designator NSF International recently announced.
Drinking Water System Standards Keep You Safe
Do you know what contaminants could be in your water without standards? Water contaminants can include everything from nitrogen, bleach, salts, pesticides, metals, toxins produced by bacteria, and even human or animal drugs. An American National Standard from NSF International helps keep water-drinkers healthier, by establishing minimum health effects requirements for chemical contaminants and impurities, including lead, that are transmitted to drinking water from products, components, and materials used in drinking water systems.
Developed by a team of scientists, industry experts, and key industry stakeholders, NSF/ANSI/CAN 61, Drinking Water System Components - Health Effects, covers all products with drinking water contact, from source to tap. Under the revision, products certified to the standard’s new criteria are required to indicate compliance on accompanying product literature and/or packaging, which makes it easier for schools and consumers to identify products with the reduced lead leaching limits.
The revision of the standard requires that the maximum amount of lead leaching be reduced from 5 micrograms (µg) to 1 microgram for plumbing endpoint devices that dispense drinking water such as faucets, and from 3 micrograms to 0.5 micrograms for other plumbing components such as connector hoses and small shut-off valves.
NSF International, which facilitates the Joint Committee on Drinking Water Additives – System Components, began investigating lower lead options in 2017 and spent nearly three years exploring various testing methods to reduce lead leaching from endpoint devices that dispense drinking water, as well as from other plumbing components. The committee behind the revision is comprised of a balance of regulatory/public health, manufacturing, and consumer sectors.
“Aggressive lead-monitoring programs are being carried out in schools, day care centers and communities in an ongoing public health protection effort. As facilitator of the standards that became the foundation of the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act, NSF International is pleased to have been a part of this important update to reduce lead from our drinking water,” said Jessica Evans, director of standards development at NSF International.
As the Standard Gets the Green Light, New Requirements are in Place
NSF reports that under the revision, approved by the Council of Public Health Consultants, certification of applicable products to the more stringent lead leaching criteria is optional for the next three years to allow manufacturers time to comply. On January 1, 2024, all products will be required to meet the stricter requirements.
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