The detection of new contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products in drinking water has opened up a new opportunity in the water treatment world to innovate and design new technologies that can address these contaminants.  In order to address concerns about the performance and claims used by marketers for treating water in a household, the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) created a series of American National Standards (ANSI) to confirm the claims are true, the system doesn’t impart anything harmful into the water, and that the product labeling isn’t misleading.

A new standard NSF/ANSI 401: Emerging Contaminants/Incidental Compounds has been developed to verify the ability of a drinking water treatment device to reduce 15 emerging contaminants such as DEET, Ibuprofen, Estrone, and Bisphenol A.  Most contaminants certified by the NSF are either classified as “health effects”, which are contaminants known to adversely affect health when present in water, or as “aesthetic effects”, which are contaminants known to adversely affect the taste, odor, or appearance of water.  Emerging contaminants however are a new category created to address the concerns over contaminants whose health effects have not yet been established.  The contaminants used to challenge water treatment devices under the new standard include prescription/over-the-counter drugs, herbicides and pesticides, and chemicals used as flame retardants and detergents.

At the time of this post (12/1/2015), 22 manufacturers have certified 156 different products to this standard.  The products which have been certified include point-of-entry (POE) and point-of-use (POU) devices such as refrigerator filters, counter top units, faucet mount filters, and under sink units,  The list of products which are currently NSF 401 certified can be found on NSF’s product and service listing’s page.