Feb 10, 2020

Maximum Allowable Lead Level Lowered to 5 ppb for NSF Certification

The maximum allowable lead in filtered water has been lowered to 5 ppb. 

drinking water, lead removal

The joint committee governing the American National Standards for drinking water treatment units has lowered the maximum allowable concentration of lead in treated drinking water to 5 parts per billion (ppb).

Standards 53 and 58 now require drinking water treatment units to reduce the lead in drinking water to 5 ppb or less, which matches Health Canada’s new maximum allowable concentration level of 5 ppb, reported the press release.

Previously, a water treatment system could be certified if it reduced lead to 10 ppb or lower and met other requirements set by the standard. The other requirements remain unchanged.

Updates to both standards are effective immediately for any new filter or filtration device that claims to reduce lead, according to NSF.

To be certified by NSF International, drinking water filters and treatment devices are tested with challenge water containing 150 ppb lead. 

According to the World Health Organization, there is no safe level of lead and even low concentrations can cause adverse health effects, especially for infants and children.

“Lead contamination of drinking water remains a critical issue, and regulations continue to be put into action to reduce the allowable level of lead in drinking water,” said Jessica Evans, Director of Standards Development at NSF International. “Establishing this new pass/fail criteria of 5 ppb for NSF/ANSI 53 and NSF/ANSI 58 will further limit health risks associated with lead ingestion and provide an additional measure of public health protection.” 

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