For this month’s March 2020 Spotlight, “Harmful Contaminants in Drinking Water,” we’ve covered How Contaminants Get in Your Drinking Water and How to Read the Water Quality Report. Now, we’re going to talk about Why Certification is Important.
In a nutshell, certification provides an unbiased guarantee that something performs according to its claims. It is third-party testing and verification of performance, so that consumers can be confident that a product works as stated. It also allows for an “apples-to-apples” comparison with other drinking water systems, because certified systems have undergone the same testing.
When it comes to certification for drinking water systems and water filtration products, the gold standard belongs to NSF International, the premier product testing, inspection, and certification organization. In conjunction with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), NSF develops, maintains, and revises testing standards for the industries and products that they certify. For drinking water systems, the important standards include NSF/ANSI Standards 42 – Aesthetic Effects (dirt, chlorine, or other contaminants that affect the taste, appearance, or odor of the water), 53 – Health Effects (asbestos, PFOA, radon, or other contaminants that are harmful to your health), 401 – Emerging Compounds/Incidental Contaminants (newer, less-tested contaminants like pharmaceuticals and pesticides), and P231 – Microbiological Purifier (bacteria, viruses, and live cysts).
NSF certification is very comprehensive, and not simply a one-time process, either. Certification requires testing at multiple stages of production, and random testing even after the initial finished product performance tests. NSF certification testing includes:
- Testing to make sure that product components do not leach anything into the water.
- Review of literature to make sure that it matches with the product and performance claims.
- Surprise visits to review and test products “off the shelf.”
But the key to product performance certification is independent, third-party testing and verification. This is the best way to make sure that performance tests are unbiased and uninfluenced by the manufacturer. And don’t be fooled by the claim “testing according to NSF standards.” That kind of claim does not rule out internal, manufacturer-controlled testing, whose results cannot be guaranteed to be impartial and unbiased. Nor does it ensure that the product performance was actually tested for the entire life of the filter – some companies only test the water for a few gallons, and base their performance claims off of that limited data.
Any company can claim their product can do anything. For drinking water treatment, any company can say that they filter “all the contaminants out there,” from chlorine to arsenic to PFOA to bacteria and viruses. But a smart and informed consumer understands that such claims are only as strong as their certification. Certification is the key to true product performance. Certification – independent, third-party certification by an accredited institute – is the key to knowing if a drinking water system will actually protect your water, or if its performance claims are simply smoke and mirrors.
This is why Multipure takes so much pride in its NSF certifications. Our third party certifications represent our guarantee to consumers that our products work just as well as we claim they will, and that our drinking water systems will treat the broadest array of contaminants. See for yourself: you can view Multipure’s specific NSF testing results here, or for the Aqualuxe, here. We are confident in our products, because we have the proof of their certified performance, and 50 years of experience in the business of drinking water filtration.