Shade Balls Meet NSF Requirements

NSF International, a not-for-profit, public health and safety organization, has certified vapor control balls, also known as "shade balls," produced by Orange Products, Inc. The shade balls met the requirements of NSF/ANSI Standard 61: Drinking Water System Components -- Health Effects, which includes requirements for all products that come in contact with drinking water.

The vapor control or shade balls are four-inch diameter high-density polyethylene balls that are intended for vapor control in potable water tanks and reservoirs with an average depth of nine feet or more.

"Vapor control or shade balls are used for blocking sunlight and reducing heat loss, evaporation, and waterfowl fatalities in open-air bodies of water and chemicals," said Kenneth Zaborowski of Orange Products, a manufacturer of plastic balls since 1946 in Allentown, Pa.

Certification of drinking water products to NSF/ANSI Standard 61 is required throughout the U.S. and Canada to measure if any chemical contaminants will leach into water at levels that may cause adverse effects to human health.

"These contaminants include those regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Health Canada, as well as any other non-regulated compounds that may be of concern," said Dave Purkiss, general manager, NSF's Drinking Water Systems Components Certification Program.

The NSF certification process begins with an inspection of the production facility, during which product samples are collected and sent to NSF laboratories to be tested. Under NSF/ANSI Standard 61, the vapor control balls are exposed to three different test waters with varying pH levels for 17 days.

Samples of the test waters are then analyzed for a wide variety of contaminants, including metals and organic compounds, to ensure no contaminants were introduced at levels that would be considered a health concern. To ensure ongoing compliance with the requirements of NSF/ANSI Standard 61, NSF conducts annual, unannounced inspections of the manufacturing facilities for certified products and re-tests products on a regular basis.

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