NSF, Task Group to Address Pharmaceuticals in Water

Recent media articles on pharmaceuticals in water have generated questions among consumers about the quality of the U.S.'s drinking water. NSF of Ann Arbor, Mich., is working with key organizations to help further investigate this issue and offer a solution to consumers.

"A key part of our mission is to provide consumers with the information they need to make informed decisions when it comes to looking out for their families' well-being," said Tom Bruursema, general manager, NSF's Drinking Water Treatment Unit Certification Program. "We are working with federal, state, and local government agencies, wastewater and drinking water utility officials, product manufacturers, and other public health experts to do just that. Current efforts include development of appropriate product standards as well as testing and certification services that help address emerging drinking water quality needs."

There are several groups along with NSF that are coming together to discuss pharmaceuticals in water. On March 20, NSF hosted a joint committee meeting on the issue. The Joint Committee is now in the process of setting up a task group to further research the status of pharmaceuticals in water. There are many areas of consideration to examine, including health effects, treatment options, and additional requirements that may need to be established.

Currently, federal and state legislation mandates testing and treatment for a wide array of tap water contaminants. A vast majority of public and private water utilities provide drinking water that meets or exceeds U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state drinking water safety standards. Additional legislation is being considered.

"While home water treatment systems are not specifically certified to reduce pharmaceuticals at this time, many of these products can help provide additional protection against a wide array of other contaminants, including arsenic, lead, and cysts, sometimes found in drinking water," said Cheryl Luptowski, NSF public information officer.

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