Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine

Viewpoint

Tuesday, August 15th, 2000

By Carlos David Mogollón

Late summer reveries—Of airwaves, heatwaves and just waves

August is often relatively quiet as people head out for summer vacations. My wife and I recently took off for Baja California del Sur, Mexico, for an extended weekend getaway.

It was hot.

This was particularly true as we toured the southern peninsula and Los Cabos in a rented cut-off VW bug pitched to us as a “convertible.” It was also true as we kayaked around the beaches near La Paz where we stayed. Water doesn’t get much bluer than that.

From our hotel room tap (marked “potable”) and while snorkeling, though, we noticed a slightly cucumber-like flavor to the water. Even the portable filter I’d brought with me did little to clear up the problem. So, it was bottled water for us.

While visiting the Muséo de Antropología, I was also reminded of how much of our hemisphere’s usable salt comes from Baja, with an entire room dedicated to a display on solar salt production. A lot of that’s used in water softeners, I recalled from an interview with Cargill Salt executives a couple of years ago.

Back home, I had a chance to follow up with Carlyn Meyer about the success of the Water Quality Association’s inaugural Safe Drinking Water Week PR campaign with Oprah personal trainer Bob Greene, who co-authored the bestselling book Making the Connection with her, as its national spokesperson.

“We think it went very well,” Meyer said. “We had 43 TV stations and 20 radio stations do interviews and many of those in major markets: Washington, D.C., New York, Boston and Houston, plus Detroit, St. Louis and Cincinnati—places where we have a number of members doing a lot of business.”

She pointed out this was just the first year of the campaign and expanded local tie-ins are planned for next year and beyond. It’s also not just a once-a-year effort, but an ongoing one designed to more proactively position the industry for positive news coverage.

“We just got word that we got the Today Show for Aug. 24, so we’ll be represented there along with our members’ products. We may do some water testing for Katie (Couric) and Matt (Lauer). And we would publicize our website through that,” Meyer said.

She noted that a chapter of Bob and Oprah’s book focuses on the importance of hydration (and drinking a minimum of eight glasses of water a day) as one of 10 ways to improve your health: “So he’s talking about something he already believes in very much; plus he uses home water treatment products.”

We also welcome this month Ron Perez as WC&P’s new associate editor. He replaces Steve Delgado, who left to join his wife in a management recruitment business. You can read his final “Website of the Month” column on human resources in this issue.

Perez graduated in 1991 from the University of Arizona with a journalism/political science degree. He has worked as a research analyst and freelance writer and most recently was senior associate editor with Oser Communications, which publishes Arizona Gourmet, Best of Tucson and Networking Daily and Broadcasters Show Daily magazines.

Lastly, we extend a thank you to current WQA President Pat Dalee who attended the Arizona WQA’s summer conference on June 30. The event included a tour of Tucson Water’s headquarters, membrane filtration plant and groundwater recharge facilities. Among points Dalee discussed were emerging partnerships between water treatment utilities and dealerships because of stricter federal drinking water rules and the importance of better relations between the two.

Viewpoint

Saturday, July 15th, 2000

By Carlos David Mongollón

Come together—AWWA, WQA, IBWA mending fences

An interesting thing happened on the way to the forum—the H2Open Forum. Everyone got along.

The American Water Works Association hosted the June 14 event, moderated by ex-director Jack Mannion, at its Denver convention. The Water Quality Association’s Peter Censky and International Bottled Water Association’s Joe Doss were joined on the panel by USEPA’s Jim Taft, Center for Disease Control’s Frank Bove and Janet Hansen of BHC Co., a private utility in Bridgeport, Conn. Current AWWA President Steve Gorden, of Detroit’s water utility, couldn’t be present.

The topic—”Is the Future of Water in a Bottle?”—detailed changing attitudes due to utility industry consolidation, privatization, deregulation and a series of tighter standards. Pending rules for radon, arsenic, lead and copper, groundwater and microbials/disinfection by-products (M/DBPs) have raised utilities’ concerns, said Brita’s Dan Carty, who was in attendance: “There are a lot of upset people here… not sure how to deal with what’s now expected of them.”

Ex-WQA director Doug Oberhammer, now vice president of Deep Rock Water Co., a Denver bottler, said he liked the forum’s format, adding the fact AWWA sponsored it was a breakthrough in acknowledging the need for alternative drinking water solutions: “There used to be a real reluctance to think there was any way other than long pipe distribution for water… But as analytical technologies have become more sophisticated and resulted in regulatory and legislative fiats for higher and higher water quality, they can see the writing on the wall. It doesn’t make economic sense to treat all water to ever-higher standards.” Even larger utilities are losing the race, particularly when it comes to degradation of older distribution systems.

With the above-mentioned pressures, Censky reiterated there would be an eventual merging, of one sort or another, between the POU/POE industry and the municipal water utility industry. This is evident in Chesapeake’s recent buying of EcoWater dealerships and Kinetico’s joint venture with a San Jose utility. But service contract agreements are a more likely short-term response, he agreed.

All three industries, Censky added, will continue to battle misrepresented scientific studies misleading the public into thinking drinking water treatment is improper, referring to margins of error in a recent CDC report and criticism of heterotrophic bacteria counts in bottled water: “To lump them together and say these are all bad bacteria is a disservice to the general public that doesn’t understand the difference. And it’s intellectually dishonest.”

Almost half of convention seminars focused on arsenic, with MTBE, perchlorate and radon garnering some attention as did an emerging contaminant—NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine). NDMA—associated with rocket fuel, rubber and batteries—was first raised as a concern in California in 1998 and “will prove problematic for groundwater recharge projects,” said USEPA Region IX’s Bruce Macler.

Macler, who noted all sessions on UV disinfection were “extraordinarily” well attended, said, “Everyone smells the wind… They can’t really use high ozone because of bromate. So, they can’t not use UV.” He credited increased attention to research by microbiologist Jennifer Clancy, who won the Journal AWWA “best article of the year” award, that has changed definitions of pathogen viability.

P. Regunathan, formerly of Culligan and now a consultant with NSF International and WQA, said he was pleased with the big focus on arsenic. But, he was disconcerted with the USEPA acknowledging POU/POE as “best available technology” and ruling out ion exchange and RO as practical treatment methods for small systems: “We as an industry need to respond to that.”

On the forum, Regunathan said, “They should have had at least a few minutes for audience questions. These guys generally don’t ask each other tough questions. Audiences do… If they continue this to create a common forum for different water industry interests coming together… that would be good.”

Oddly, no reference was made to the March 31 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chlorine Chemistry Council vs. USEPA, forcing the agency to establish a threshold level for chloroform, which the court said research showed was not carcinogenic above a certain level.

Guest Viewpoint: Of fact and fantasy

Thursday, June 15th, 2000

By Peter Meyers, ResinTech, Inc.

Over the years, I’ve collected a hefty file on various types of alternative water treatment devices, sometimes called “gadgets” or “NCDs” (non-chemical devices). Many claim to work, based on pseudoscientific techno-babble backed by the all-important anecdotal testimonial. For a while, dia-magnetism was the buzzword; before this, it was electrostatic energy waves. I clearly remember a device that was nothing more than a plastic ball filled with a blue liquid. If you placed it in your washing machine, it supercharged the soap molecules, allowing you to cut detergent use in half. I took it home and gave it to my wife. Lo and behold, it worked. She cut detergent in half and our clothes came out just as clean as before.

Of course, this type of anecdotal evidence is practically worthless to a scientist. The fact is we used more than twice as much soap as we needed in the first place, so cutting the dose in half didn’t reduce our washing machine’s effectiveness. The blue ball had no magical powers, except the ability to alter my wife’s perception of reality—that dream world where more is always better. And the gadget, while it did nothing to change the chemistry of removing dirt from clothing, did alter her reality—and fully lived up to its claims.

So, what’s reality and what’s fantasy? One thing is for sure. If nothing changes, nothing changes. When we look at a device (be it a softener or an electromagnetic water conditioner or anything else), and we want to know if it’s working, we look for change. Change tells us the device is doing something. For many devices, the change is obvious. We flip the light switch and the room suddenly becomes much brighter, confirming the light is indeed working.

Other changes aren’t so obvious. Suppose the light is connected through a switch to the famous clapper we see advertised along with the Chia Pet every holiday season. Clap and have someone flip the light switch up and down simultaneously. Now, it’s not at all obvious which device is working or not working just by observing the light. If we really want to know if the switch and/or the clapper is working, we have to devise a way to isolate each device so we can test them separately. Anecdotal evidence that the light did turn on is worthless if we want to know which device caused the change.

Is scale reduced? Can detergent use be reduced? For these types of questions, anecdotal evidence has little or no value. For example, when many of the early magnetic water conditioners were installed the water heater temperature was turned down, since “heat transfer would improve when scale was reduced” and it wouldn’t be necessary to waste money overheating. The device is installed, and sure enough, scale is dramatically reduced. The homeowner, who likely doesn’t grasp the relationship between temperature and scaling potential, raves about how well his new water conditioner works. Take another example where the device is connected to existing piping and sets up or eliminates a galvanic cell. In one case, the device “causes” corrosion; while in the other, it may “cause” scale. The “changes” may have nothing to do with the device per se; they could be incidental changes made along with its installation. This has always been a big problem with experimental work—how do we avoid interacting with and, thus, changing our experiment.

In that manner, anecdotal evidence is virtually worthless to separate fact from fantasy. Unless we can isolate and study the effect of a particular water treatment device independent of its installation, we can’t prove or disprove if it works or not. Anecdotal evidence is worthless, assuming we’re hung up on reality. Some gadgets on the market “work” because they alter our perception, not because they change the water. I’m now selling the magic detergent extender balls for $10 each. Franchises and wholesale pricing for quantity purchases are readily available. And I can give you my solemn assurance “THIS THING REALLY WORKS!” How many would you like?

Viewpoint

Monday, May 1st, 2000

By Carlos David Mogollón, WC&P Executive Editor

Successful shows, websites and Wall Street: It’s all about value

You’ll find a full review of the Water Quality Association convention in this issue and online at the magazine’s website—www.wcp.net—under the “Feature Story” button.

For the last couple of years, we’ve found there’s so much discussed at the show it’s not feasible to include it all in the magazine itself. Therefore, we use our website—where space is generally not at a premium—to augment our traditional print outlet. We’re kind of proud of it here because nowhere will you find broader coverage of the convention…

…which brings me to point No. 2. Hopefully, the revamped WQA website is now online and we have a bit more competition for filling you in on the trade show. The current site, from the get-go, has been clunky and a bit unprofessional in appearance. It’s earlier incarnation presented a much better image of the industry to the public. If a new site hasn’t been put online by the time you read this, the WQA will have missed a perfect opportunity to coordinate release of the long-promised, fully interactive site with National Drinking Water Week—which also coincides with a major PR campaign planned by the association the first week of this month. For all WQA executive director Peter Censky’s talk at the past two conventions of creating a “virtual water industry community” on the Internet, this issue needs some virtual reality.

At the convention, WC&P did the Roundtable Reception of its Technical Review Committee a little differently this year. With the group going into it’s fifth year (and the millennium and all), we invited all past members to join us. We’d like to recognize them because their expertise and dedication is a big part of what buoys the magazine’s reputation. As well as the people in the column to the right on this page, past members include: John Beauchamp, Frank Borowski, James Dallan, Jerry Davis, Gil Dhawan, Mike Gottlieb, Bob Hidell, David Kronmiller, David Martin, C.F. “Chubb” Michaud, Ken Mouw, Phil Olsen, Mike Pedersen, Kathy Ransome, Jesse Rodriguez, Bill Sax, Steve Singer and Jack Slovak.

Not everyone could make it, but the 20 people that were present were well spoken. There was a lively discussion about the importance of getting back to the basics on articles, i.e., that 3-to-5 year cycle of presenting fundamentals of various technologies over again. A debate on the tradeoffs of promoting ion exchange for arsenic removal got a bit heated since it requires special oversight because of the risks. Other topics included: commercial/industrial niche markets, the Water Quality Society, affects of industry consolidation and more large manufacturers going past the dealer direct to the end user.

After the convention, we all got back to the to-do lists and stacks of paper back at our offices. And in scanning headlines of week-old stories on the stock market and water industry in particular, I was a little distraught that—with all the ups and downs on Wall Street—water industry stocks seem to be floundering. Then, I did a mindset check and realized that lacking the wild swings in value of the “dotcoms” wasn’t necessarily a negative. After all, who wants to earn a bundle one day only to lose it the next. As Osmonics’ Dean Spatz predicted a few months ago, though, investors are once again looking for value. Let’s give it to them.

Viewpoint

Saturday, April 15th, 2000

By Carlos David Mogollón, WC&P Executive Editor

Spotting bad apples before they poison the well

You know the saying: “A few bad apples spoil a good thing…”

Such can be the case at anytime, anywhere, in any industry, we all know. This is why an association that offers professional growth opportunities also acts as a check on those members behaving unethically and serves to uphold the general reputation of like-minded firms is so important.

A couple of issues arose as we were putting to bed our April issue that highlights this point.

The first had to do with a March 1 press release from the Pacific Water Quality Association entitled: “Legitimate Water Treatment Companies Speak Out Against Fraud: How Consumers Can Protect Themselves.” It was in response to bad press following the filing of charges by the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office against a home water treatment company operating without a contractor’s license and using unethical “scare tactic” sales practices. The Los Angeles Times ran an article and several Hispanic TV news programs aired reports on it, giving the entire industry a black eye.

PWQA President Bill Wallace said the two salespeople caught in a sting operation sponsored by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) were targeting Hispanics with: 1) saying the water would poison children, 2) using precipitation tests and 3) explaining terms in Spanish but presenting contracts in English.

The issue so upset water treatment businesses serving Hispanic communities in Southern California that they banded together to turn it in their favor. They’re led by Fernando Ricci, president of Amber Home Products, a Rancho Cucamonga company that’s been in the area for 10 years and sells softeners, ROs and other products through 11 dealers in 10 states.

“My business has gone down 50 percent in some areas,” Ricci said. “A lawsuit is threatened in Burbank, Calif. Everyone is being sued of course… so we thought it would be a good idea to come up with some tips for consumers when looking for reputable businesses. We’re looking for people to connect with on this.”

The tip sheet, which includes toll free numbers for the CLSB and PWQA, is available from the PWQA—(916) 255-3900.

“Again, there may be a few bad apples out there, as in any industry,” Wallace said, “but we just wanted to make sure consumers knew about PWQA and WQA and that members of these organizations have a code of ethics.”

The second issue involved a letter written by the Arizona WQA petitioning the WQA to take action against “no salt, no chemical” member companies operating in the Phoenix and Tucson areas that profess to soften water or make health claims. Several AWQA members threatened to leave the WQA if nothing was done. After a subsequent phone conversation with WQA executive director Peter Censky, two members agreed to file formal complaints to the national association for advertising review.

Three other quick points this month:

  • While it’s still not clear as of this writing when the USEPA will release its final arsenic rule (originally due December 1999), indications are the MCL will likely be proposed at 5 ppb, with comments solicited for an MCL of 3 ppb and 10 pbb “if you read the American Water Works Association’s newsletters,” said USEPA’s Tom Sorg. The current standard is 50 ppb.
  • NSF International’s Bruce Bartley said coagulation and adsorptive media seem to be the hot selection for treating arsenic in the ETV program, as work starts this spring with 3-to-5 vendors with ion specific media and coagulants.
  • And this item from PMEngineer Magazine’s February issue, a funny story. A middle school student for his science fair project tried to show how susceptible we are to alarmist “junk” science fomenting fear of everything in our environment. Citing drawbacks of “dihydrogen monoxide” (a major component of acid rain, cause of severe burns in its gaseous state, contributor to erosion, etc.) he got 43 of 50 people to sign a petition for stricter government control or its elimination. Only one knew that it was water. The title of his project, which won first prize: “How Gullible Are We?”

Viewpoint

Wednesday, March 15th, 2000

Carlos David Mogollón, WC&P Executive Editor

Of MTBE, 60 Minutes, lead faucets and ‘legalized extortion’

Ah, just when you thought it’d be an easy year to enjoy, controversy rears its ugly head. By controversy, I mean two issues that seem to have 1) riled consumers, and 2) riled the point-of-use/point-of-entry water treatment industry.

The first refers to a Jan. 16 broadcast by CBS 60 Minutes about MTBE, the fuel oxygenate mandated by the 1990 Clean Air Act that’s contaminated much of the nation’s groundwater. WC&P first reported the subject in November 1997, with our own exposé in the March 1998 issue that also covered perchlorate as an emerging issue for waterborne contaminants.

Ironically, we detailed several treatment options being investigated to remove the substance, which moves quickly in groundwater and is slow to biodegrade, in that article and another by researchers at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Those methods include: air stripping, granular activated carbon, peroxone (hydrogen peroxide and ozone) and other advanced oxidation processes, membrane separation and bioremediation—although all were viewed as cost prohibitive for large scale needs. Dr. Kelly Reynolds also touched on the topic in her May 1999 On Tap column and we’ve continued to report new developments in our Newsreel section.

Yet, the 60 Minutes report—while an outstanding presentation overall—presented the information as if it might come as a big surprise to viewers and indicated  no treatment exists for MTBE: “nobody knows how to clean it up.” After the broadcast a deluge of press releases were filed about options offered by: Waterlink/Barnebey Sutcliffe, Calgon Carbon, Infectech Inc./BioRemedial Technologies, Wellness Filter and PUR, now owned by Procter & Gamble. The Water Quality Association posted its response on its website and noted that NSF International added a reduction claim for MTBE to Standard 53 in September l999.

While there’s no question the first step toward a solution is ending use of MTBE, there is a way to clean it up. The POU/POE industry has the answer. Needed are conclusive studies showing effective removal by those firms making marketing claims.

The second issue involves something truly obscure—a pattern of litigation threats over two years resulting in financial settlements against nearly 20 companies by attorneys for the Center for Environmental Health. You’ll recall CEH raised the issue of lead-bearing drinking water faucets in undercounter filtration systems in the summer of 1998, pressuring several manufacturers to discontinue their use or face lawsuits under California’s Proposition 65.

WC&P has acquired copies of legal settlements with some 16 companies opting to pay (from $30,000 to $50,000 usually) to forego legal expenses and negative publicity of contesting accusations their products may impart contaminants into drinking water greater than Prop. 65 levels (which are well below federal standards) allow. The settlements require them not to sell systems imparting far less than a limit set in an earlier group settlement with standard faucet manufacturers and insist they be applied to products sold globally or nationally.

Thomas Clarke, an anti-Prop. 65 attorney in San Francisco, noted the pattern is typical of “greenmailers” using Prop. 65 as “legalized extortion” whereby environmental groups like CEH are used as “beards” or fronts to generate fees for law firms while settlements, of which the state is due 50 percent, often go undisclosed. It’s questionable whether these serve public health goals or simply subvert state and federal laws for personal gain, he added.
On the other hand, CEH attorney Eric Somers points out, “litigation by regulation” is central to Prop. 65 to allow “private citizen enforcers” to assist overburdened, underfunded regulatory agencies in protecting public health. And, he adds, requiring lower limits is valid since  water from these systems is primarily for consumption, most companies approached didn’t do anything until lawsuit threats and nothing is binding—even on those that voluntarily switched to non-leaded brass faucets—unless a legal agreement is signed.
One thing is for sure, you’ll be reading more about this topic in WC&P.

The Measure of Our Success—A Proactive Stance

Tuesday, February 15th, 2000

By Edward “Ned” Jones, WQA President 1999-2000

There’s probably no better time to reflect on the past and look to the future than at the beginning of a new millennium, which is when this is being written.

The past year, 1999-2000, has been a busy period for WQA and it started with a major legislative victory in California in the amended passage of SB1006. The potential ban of water softeners on a community-by-community basis, which was averted by the WQA-sponsored amendments, would have been devastating to suppliers, retailers and customers in that state. Through a most effective “grassroots” campaign and formidable support of the Pacific WQA, we were able to turn a negative
proposal into positive legislation. We now face the challenge of improving softener efficiencies, but we’ve moved from a reactive to proactive position.

WQA also has been working on the materials safety issue for over five years. We’re now jumping this major hurdle in uniting our industry. The NSF Joint Committee on Drinking Water Treatment Units and Drinking Water Additives is reviewing current standards and will present a single methodology for incorporation into ANSI/NSF 61 for POU and POE components evaluation. This will ultimately reduce costs and level the playing field for all manufacturers.

Our new “Society” is coming to completion as well. Since the main marketing push will be by word-of-mouth, we expect the membership to grow slowly at first. A Society subscription will be an  inexpensive way to link customers, suppliers, dealers and end-users, with water treatment being the
common denominator. Obviously, the Internet will be a driving force in the future of this and other WQA outreach endeavors.

The past year has been an important year for plumbing code revisions because the year 2000 will be a year for writing new codes. For drinking water, manufacturer recommendations will be used for the first time to determine piping and tubing sizes. With softeners, language dealing with pressure drops and piping size was adopted. Although fixture/flow rate tables were not accepted, these rulings will be appealed.

One of the highlights for me this year was attending the 25th anniversary gala for the Safe Drinking Water Act in Washington, D.C. WQA was one of 18 environmental groups represented. We now feel the USEPA is starting to view our industry as the emerging technology in providing high quality drinking water. Our POU methods of treating drinking water have always made the most economic sense. If logic prevails, this business should ultimately come to us.

We, of course, have dozens of committees working hard on many worthwhile projects. It is difficult to mention them all, but they truly are the backbone of our association. We should all feel confident that the professional staff at WQA, as well as the boards of governors and directors, are well equipped to take us into the next century.

I’d like to thank all of you that have been a part of our year. We have a fine industry made up of dedicated individuals all working toward a common goal. It has been my pleasure to serve you—and I thank all of you for the experience. I look forward to being with you at the Long Beach Convention in March!

Viewpoint

Saturday, January 15th, 2000

By Carlos David Mongollón

A Solution for Materials Safety

While the actual new millenium may be a year away, chronologically and for all practical purposes, the beginning of this month is the date that’ll be celebrated—and if you’re reading this, the world didn’t fall apart as some were predicting.

Meanwhile, those in the POU/POE water treatment equipment industry have a major success to celebrate in the agreement by NSF International’s joint committees on Drinking Water Additives (DWA) and Drinking Water Treatment Units (DWTU) to use Standard 61 rules as an option for materials safety compliance. The DWA committee approved it Sept. 23; the DWTU committee Nov. 17. Acceptance means a product’s components can be assembled into a finished product with minimal extra testing fees.

Full implications are yet to be felt, however, as a task group still has to work out details of rewriting sections of both the DWTU standards and Standard 61 to include appropriate language to make it so. But, since materials safety was the final obstacle, the agreement all but caps a five-year-plus effort to harmonize ANSI/NSF and Water Quality Association standards.

“It was the last major hurdle I see toward getting basically every major thing we wanted into the NSF standards and clears the way for NSF and everyone else, from WQA and Spectrum Labs and the whole industry to use one set of rules,” said Joe Harrison, WQA technical director. “That means retiring WQA’s Gold Seal program.”

Previously, WQA standards used FDA Title 21 CFR, a federal regulation against which manufacturers guaranteed compliance for materials safety, to ensure components didn’t impart any contaminants into water above national drinking water standards. The DWTU standards, however, required whole system extraction testing of complete assembled units that created another level of testing and expense for compliance—discouraging WQA’s goal announced in 1993 for universal certification of the industry’s products. Standard 61 involves a list of compliant components that a manufacturer can choose from (with certain caveats measuring the additive effect of each component) that have undergone extraction testing paid for by the individual component manufacturer to assemble a product and be assured it will be safe for consumers.

“And most importantly, I think, it puts the responsibility for toxicology assessment, materials formulation and disclosures, and extraction testing on the shoulders of the people making the materials and components rather than those buying and using them to put together a product,” Harrison said.

Putting that burden on DWTU manufacturers and assemblers is unreasonable since their asking resin or plastics extruders, for instance, to disclose chemical formulations is akin to asking Coke or Pepsi for what goes into their particular brand. “It’s a proprietary thing they don’t disclose freely,” he added and, as a result less than 50 percent of softeners, for instance, have no certification. “That’s not to say they’re not good, effective, safe products. It’s just that people making them see the certification process as too onerous, time-consuming or expensive to participate.”

Companies represented at the DWTU Joint Committee meeting included EcoWater, New Aqua, Fleck Controls, Osmonics/Autotrol, CUNO/Water Factory Systems, Robert B. Hill Co. and Hellenbrand Industries. Each said they were more likely to seek certification with Standard 61 as an option. Over 20 people volunteered to be on the task group, which will need at least a year to finalize new language.

Some like CUNO’s Tom Gutman felt Standard 61 would be a better measure of materials safety as it relies less on a manufacturer’s assurance and more on documented evidence of component safety.

“The concept that’s employed in (Standard) 61 is that you can bring to market a device that’s made from previously approved/reviewed materials and, if you need to substitute any—say a manufacturer or supplier goes out of business,” Gutman said, “you can do that without having necessarily to do a new test, but still with the absolute assurance NSF will review the sum total contributions from all constituent parts to ensure the device doesn’t contribute any contaminant in excess of an acceptable level.”

That’s pretty good news to ring in the New Year with, eh?

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