Home Filters May Add Protection from Contaminants

The National Resources Defense Council is offering a guide on choosing home-based water treatment, available at http://www.nrdc.org/water/drinking/gfilters.asp.

According to the NRDC, "As a general rule, look for filters labeled as meeting NSF/ANSI Standard 53 and that are certified to remove the contaminant(s) of concern in your water." Under its Gold Seal program, the Water Quality Association (WQA) certifies products to NSF/ANSI standards.

Filtering systems in the home provide the highest technology available for treatment of drinking water, according to Joseph Harrison, P.E., CWS-VI, technical director of WQA. Less than two percent of all water consumed is ingested by humans, making these "point-of-use" systems the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly treatments.

"While utilities are required to meet safety standards set by the U.S EPA, home filtering systems act as a final contaminant barrier and can further purify water for drinking," Harrison said. Specific product performance standards have not yet been developed for pharmaceuticals, but many point-of-use technologies have proven effective for some of these emerging contaminants.

With more than 2,500 members, WQA is a not-for-profit alliance of water treatment companies and has become a resource for consumers and public policy makers seeking information about the issue.

WQA offers an online fact sheet with answers to the issue of pharmaceuticals in water, available at wqa.org. The association also has joined a task force to develop independent testing standards that will be able to tell consumers what devices are successful at removing many of these newly discovered contaminants.

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