Awareness of New and Emerging Contaminants in Your Water

You may have seen reports recently about the presence of emerging or incidental contaminants in drinking water. According to NSF, 82 percent of consumers report that they are concerned about the negative effects these emerging contaminants may have on their health although at trace levels they are not a public health issue. Contaminants of most concern include pesticides and herbicides followed by prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, chemicals used as flame retardants and detergents and even caffeine.

What Are Emerging Contaminants?

Most contaminants found in drinking water have traditionally fallen into one of two categories — health effects, for contaminants known to adversely affect health when present in drinking water; or aesthetic effects, for contaminants not affecting health but rather the taste, appearance or odor of drinking water.Emerging contaminants are a new category of water quality concerns for which evidence of health effects has not yet been established due in part to the trace levels at which these compounds are currently being detected. For this reason, it was decided that a separate testing standard should be developed for product testing purposes.

American National Standard NSF/ANSI 401: Emerging Contaminants/Incidental Compounds is an American national standard that verifies the ability of a water treatment device to reduce up to 15 of the emerging contaminants. This includes some prescription/OTC drugs, caffeine, new types of herbicides and pesticides and chemicals used as flame retardants and detergents that have been found at trace levels in drinking water.