Environmental Protection

NSF International and JWPA Complete Protocol that Can Evaluate Iodine in Water Treatment Products

Developed following the earthquake in Japan in March 2011, the protocol can be used to evaluate ability of filters to reduce radioactive iodine from water. Activated carbon, ion exchange and reverse osmosis technologies certified to new NSF/JWPA protocol can effectively reduce radioactive iodine from drinking water.

NSF International and the Japan Water Purification Association (JWPA) are completing a jointly developed protocol to evaluate the ability of certain water filtration products to reduce iodine (including radioactive iodine) from drinking water. Once the protocol is complete, manufacturers can have their activated carbon, ion exchange, and reverse osmosis water filtration technologies tested and certified to ensure effective iodine reduction. The program was announced at the WQA Aquatech show in Las Vegas.

NSF and JWPA began developing the protocol, at the request of water treatment systems manufacturers following the tragic earthquake in Japan in March 2011, to help solve consumer confusion and provide a means to evaluate systems that reduce radioactive iodine. Manufacturers felt use of water systems certified to the protocol would provide consumers additional reassurance. The international protocol will be known as NSF/JWPA Protocol P72 Drinking Water Treatment Units – Iodine Radioisotope Reduction.

NSF International is an independent global organization that writes public health standards and protocols, and tests and certifies products for the food, water and consumer goods industries. NSF led the development of the American National Standards for products that come in contact with drinking water and certifies products, including water treatment systems, to these standards. The U.S. government replaced its own drinking water product advisory program with these NSF standards.

NSF utilized this global water technology expertise to help develop the new NSF/JWPA Protocol P72 Drinking Water Treatment Units – Iodine Radioisotope Reduction. In developing the protocol, a team of NSF scientists, JWPA technical committee members, and other experts developed test methods used to evaluate whether adsorptive and absorptive media, such as activated carbon, as well as reverse osmosis, and ion exchange point-of-use water filtration technologies can effectively reduce iodine from water.

As background, activated carbon is used widely in water filters as it is effective in removing a wide range of chemicals and gases by using adsorptive or absorptive media to remove or soak up contaminants from water. Reverse osmosis units use a combination of activated carbon and reverse osmosis technologies, which force water through a semi-permeable membrane to block many contaminants. Ion exchange technologies are frequently incorporated into water treatment devices to treat contaminants such as heavy metals, nitrate, perchlorate, and others.

Once the protocol is complete, manufacturers will be able to have their products tested and certified by NSF International to ensure they effectively reduce iodine and help protect consumers.

"It has been almost a year since the finding of radioactive iodine in the tap water. JWPA tried to find out if the residential water purifier could reduce the radioactive iodine and it turned out that JWPA and NSF worked together to produce the new protocol," said Mr. Naotaka Ueda, the general secretary of JWPA.

Additionally, to be a truly international protocol that can be applied to many regions of the world, the NSF/JWPA Protocol P72 requires that the system meet appropriate drinking water treatment country standards. For example for the U.S. market, the system also must meet the requirements of NSF/ANSI Standard 42: Drinking Water Treatment Units - Aesthetic Effects or NSF/ANSI Standard 53: Drinking Water Treatment Units - Health Effects for adsorptive or absorptive media and NSF/ANSI Standard 58: Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Treatment Systems. For Japan, the requirements of the Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS) 3201: Testing Methods for Household Water Purifiers also must be met.

“NSF International has more than 40 years of experience developing drinking water standards and testing products against those standards,” said Rick Andrew, general manager, NSF International Drinking Water Treatment Certification Program. “The new protocol (NSF/JWPA Protocol P72 Drinking Water Treatment Units – Iodine Radioisotope Reduction) builds on our significant expertise in water treatment systems and technologies and enables us to further protect public health.”

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