Going Through the Process

When a product is tested and certified by a third-party institution to meet the criteria of a nationally recognized heath effects standard, the benefits run large for both the producers of the product and for the end-users of the product.

Dow Water Solutions recently received NSF/ANSI Standard 61 certification for its Dowex TAN-1 anion resin by NSF International. Antonio Pavese, global marketing manager, and Daryl Gisch, product development leader, both for ion exchange resin with Dow Water Solutions, share their insight on going through the certification process.

Stephanie Harris: What are the benefits of obtaining product certification?

Antonio Pavese: The certification is a benefit for both parties—the producer and the customers. For the producers, being able to have a product certified by a respected institution like NSF is a great validation of our claims and provides unbiased verification of our production efforts.

Harris: Describe the process to obtain certification?

Pavese: The first thing you have to do as a candidate is provide a written summary of the production steps, the chemicals employed and the methods used during the manufacturing process. NSF then uses this information to produce an estimation of what the chemical footprint is of the manufacturer, and then designs specific testing to prove the chemistry applied. Included in this process is the request to provide where we get our material from.

Once this information is acquired, NSF performs its own proprietary testing of the media in their lab. For an ion exchange resin, testing typically takes two to three weeks to complete.

At this point, the certification is either granted or denied. If it is granted, NSF will visit the manufacturing site on a periodic basis and retest the production of the product. They will randomly pick samples and retest them to ensure what you submitted is representative of the actual manufacturing process. If they refuse you, you will need to modify the chemical process based on their recommendation and restart the process over again. Harris: How long did the certification process take?

Pavese: The process will typically take 10 to 16 weeks for a first-time success like in our case. The certification will last two years. When it expires, NSF will come back and check samples of the chemical production. If you change anything in the formulation, composition, manufacturing process or material, you will be required to resubmit your information and restart the entire process.

Daryl Gisch: They will conduct an inspection of the plant and the paperwork, and in some cases, pull samples on a random basis for retesting at that two-year mark to assure both themselves and the marketplace that the quality has been maintained and is being maintained moving forward.

Harris: Why is it important to have products third-party certified?

Pavese: We are marketing highly sophisticated technologies; therefore, it is important we are able to demonstrate that the promises we make are true. We can provide internally developed data regarding why a product is of superior performance but there is nothing more convincing to the audience than hearing it from an independent certified institution. NSF is respected in the industry and getting past their certification and obtaining their authorization is more powerful than internally developed data. In general, industries that have institutions like NSF will be better industries. They help to elevate the quality of competition and performance, and they ultimately deliver a good service for the consumers.

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About the author

Stephanie Harris is managing editor of Water Quality Products. Harris can be reached at 847.391.1007 or by e-mail at [email protected].