I am writing in response to the Water Matters article written by Dave Purkiss, Use of Alternate Filter Medias in Pool and Spa Filters (see November 2009). Although the article does a good job informing the industry of alternate pool and spa media being used, it does a terrible disservice to the industry by confusing the difference between product certification bodies and product testing standards.
NSF/ANSI 50 is a pool and spa product-testing standard. This standard has been developed by a joint committee made up of industry companies, regulators and users, and is to be used by laboratories and certification agencies to evaluate products. The Water Quality Association (WQA), like NSF International, is one of the certification bodies that is an active member on the joint committee. Also, WQA is becoming increasingly active in modifying and revising the Standard with the help of experts from its client companies.
The article fails to mention that NSF is one of many certifying agencies that meet the requirements of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to perform product testing and cer- tification to NSF/ANSI 50. At this time WQA, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and NSF conduct product testing and certification to the Standard. Also, within the last few years, WQA has become increasingly active in alternative-media testing and certification with several companies.
The article also lists several companies that NSF has certi- fied to this standard. For a complete list of all companies selling alternate media certified to NSF/ANSI 50, please review the websites of WQA, IAPMO and NSF.
NSF/ANSI standards and certification
Many codes and regulations require products to meet NSF standards, or more accurately, the ANSI-accredited and public domain NSF/ANSI standards. People are sometimes confused, thinking that products then must ‘have NSF’ or must have ‘NSF certification.’ This is not correct. It is important to understand the distinction between standards and certification.
Companies comply with codes and regulations specifying NSF/ANSI standards by obtaining product certifications to the cited standard(s). Compliant certifications are provided by any state- or code-accepted certification body or certification orga- nization. In North America, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) are the recognized and accepted accreditation organizations. All states, US EPA, provinces, Health Canada and codes rely on ANSI- and SCC-accreditations to determine the bona fide, independent, third-party certifications that they will accept.
All ANSI- and SCC-accredited certifiers must strictly adhere to the same stringent international standards and requirements of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for independent certification programs and testing laboratories. They must all always pass the continual and detailed audits for this
compliance by ANSI and SCC to ensure product certifications are consistently accurate, complete and without bias. All ANSI- and SCC-accredited certifiers are equivalent and equally accepted by regulators.
In addition to authoring NSF or NSF/ANSI standards, NSF International also separately operates one of the product certifi- cation choices. There are several other comparable certification programs that are equally accredited, and that manufacturers have the level playing field options to choose from. Any of these can provide testing and certifications to the public domain NSF/ ANSI standards. Each accredited certifier provides equivalent compliance to regulations and equivalent product assurance and acceptance for buyers.
WQA, like other testing and certification agencies, including NSF International and Underwriters Laboratories (UL), is fully ac- credited by ANSI and SCC. The WQA Gold Seal Program tests and certifies drinking water treatment units, drinking water system components, drinking water additives, pool and spa equipment, and food equipment to NSF/ANSI standards.
WQA issues its Gold Seal Mark if the product(s) meets the testing requirements of the standard and the certified company meets Gold Seal Program policies. WQA maintains its list of products that have been tested and certified to the NSF/ANSI standards.
NSF and UL also maintain websites that list the products they have tested and certified to the NSF/ANSI standards for drink- ing water treatment units, drinking water system components, drinking water additives, pool and spa standards, and all other standards they use to certify products. If you are searching for a product that has been certified to an NSF/ANSI standard, you will need to know which agency performed the certification so that you can visit their website to view the product listing(s).
The following is a list of some of the certification agencies that are accredited by ANSI to perform testing and certification to the NSF/ANSI standards for drinking water treatment units, drinking water system components, drinking water treatment additives, and pool and spa equipment:
Water Quality Association (WQA) NSF International (NSF) Underwriter Laboratories (UL)
Canadian Standards Association (CSA) International Association of Plumbing Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) Truesdail Laboratories, Inc.
Businesses, interested in having their products tested and certified to the NSF/ANSI 50 standard, may elect any of these ANSI accredited certification bodies to certify their products.
Thomas P. Palkon
Director of Product Certification
Water Quality Association