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When you shop for plumbing parts, whether online or at a store, do you notice those alphabet abbreviations like NSF, UPC, ASME, and CSA? They indicate various certifications, and they are there for a reason. Each indicates a rigorous series of tests and on-going follow-ups the product and its manufacturer has passed—all to the benefit of you as the end user.
Look especially for this one:
NSF certified products almost always bear this round symbol or its text equivalent somewhere on the packaging, on the product, or the accompanying manual. The NSF designation may also include numbers like NSF 61 and/or NSF 372.
So, let's dig a little deeper into the parent company NSF International and explore why NSF certification is so important.
Founded in 1944 as the National Sanitation Foundation, its purpose was "to help standardize sanitation and food safety at a time when the United States had no national sanitation standards." By 1990, they had become a worldwide health and safety organization and changed their name to NSF International.
Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the organization currently has more than 140 currently active public health standards and independent testing protocols. And they offer services in over 170 countries!
Per NSF, "Millions of people take the safety of their food, water and consumer products for granted on a daily basis. Why? Because of three letters: NSF. NSF certification is your key to making sure that the products you use meet strict standards for public health protection."
The NSF certified designation doesn't happen overnight. No matter the product, service, or process being certified, typically there are seven steps a manufacturer has to take in order to earn that certification.
So, you can see, this is not a quick one-and-done process.
Don't be concerned about the two designations. They meet the same standards. ANSI, "evaluates and monitors NSF standards development and product certification processes. They ensure that NSF International meets the requirements of ISO 17065 (https://www.iso.org/obp/ui/#iso:std:iso-iec:17065:en)."
The NSF 61 standard covers all products with drinking water contact from source to faucet. It examines what contaminants might migrate or be extracted into water, and whether they are below maximum allowable levels. It does NOT deal with performance, odor, taste, or microbial growth.
Most of the testing protocols are based on exposure periods between 12 to 24 hours, reasonable for typical drinking water system use. Water storage tanks, plumbing systems in green buildings, or structures that sit unused for longer periods of time are another story.
NSF 61, however, doesn't specifically deal with lead. That's where NSF 372 comes in.
NSF 372 is consistent with the United States Safe Drinking Water Act and meets the requirement of several U.S. states, including California. Testing determines the lead content based on the wetted surface area of products, not what the products themselves are made from.
Products tested include water meters, valves, pipes and hoses, gaskets, coatings, solder and flux, water filters, water softeners, reverse osmosis systems, and faucets—just to name a few! Certification ensures any lead content does not exceed maximum limits.
From a consumer standpoint, this certification is especially important for plumbing parts used for drinking water like:
Generally, garden hoses, washing machine hoses, toilet supply lines, and shower heads do NOT meet NSF 372. That's because they are not typical drinking water sources. So keep that in mind the next time you're tempted to drink from your garden hose!
On products that are NSF 372 certified, you'll often see the designation "lead-free." That doesn't mean there isn't some lead; it just means the levels are below harmful levels.
NSF certification is voluntary, not mandatory. But manufacturers seek certification for a number of reasons.
Basically, the NSF Mark means that the, "product has been tested by a trusted, independent certification organization. The Mark is valued by consumers, manufacturers, retailers, and regulatory agencies worldwide."
What are the consequences of buying non-NSF-Marked products? Maybe none. Maybe a lot.
Why gamble with you and your family's physical health? Don't gamble. Choose NSF 61 and NSF 372 certified products.
All Certified Appliance Accessories products that carry water for drinking are NSF/ANSI 61 and NSF 372 certified. They also meet UPC (Universal Plumbing Code), ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers), and CSA (Canadian Standards Association) certification standards.
This includes our:
Our dishwasher elbows are NSF 372. The stainless steel washing machine hoses and steam dryer water inlets are NSF 61 certified. And our EPDM synthetic rubber washing machine hoses bear equivalent certifications from UPC and ASME.
So, when you buy Certified Appliance Accessories' water-bearing hoses, you're also buying peace of mind for you and your household for years to come. You can purchase them online at Lowe's, Walmart, Amazon, and other ecommerce sites.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational and educational purposes only. Certified Appliance Accessories is not liable or responsible for any damages resulting from or related to your use of this information.