What is NSF?
Founded in 1944, NSF International is a not-for-profit organization that provides public health and safety risk management solutions to companies, governments and consumers around the world.
Its main business is to bring together experts in public health, manufacturing, and sanitization from government, industry, academia and the public to develop and administer performance standards for products which have some impact on sanitation and public health.
NSF maintains state-of-art laboratories where products can be tested according to set standards.
The importance of NSF Certification
There are important reasons to look for NSF Certification when purchasing a water filter:
Performance claims may be based on internal testing only. Do you have access to all testing procedures used? Was testing done to industry standards?
Sometimes stated capacities are misleading because they may be based on only chemical (chlorine) reduction and don't take particulates into consideration. Particulates have an important role in how long a filter will last. Most often, a filter plugs from dirt before the chemical capacity is used up.
In capacity claims, it's not always clear what percentage of chemical contaminants are actually reduced. For example, if there is only 50% reduction in chlorine then higher capacities can be claimed. But is removal of only half chlorine acceptable for quality beverages?
NSF Certification ensures that:
The contaminant reduction claims certified are true and accurate.
The materials of construction do not add anything unwanted to the water such as lead.
The system is structurally sound.
Advertising claims are true and accurate.
For water filters, look for these certifications:*
NSF/ANSI Standard 42: Aesthetic Effects
For water treatment systems designed to reduce specific aesthetic or non-health-related contaminants (chlorine, taste and odor, and particulates).
NSF/ANSI Standard 53: Health Effects
For water treatment systems designed to reduce specific health-related contaminants, such as Crytosporidium, Gardia, lead, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether)
*It's important to read the small print when evaluating a product certification. Within standards 42 and 53 there are different classes and contaminant removals to consider. Even though a filter is certified for a standard, it may not be certified for all of the reductions possible within the standard.