Lisle, Illinois –In March 2016, USA Today Network released findings from a nationwide investigation on lead in drinking water. They found, “nearly 2,000 water systems spanning all 50 states where testing has shown excessive levels of lead contamination. The network’s analysis of U.S, Environmental Protection Agency data also showed about 350 schools and daycare centers failed lead tests about 470 times from 2012 to 2015”. In Illinois, the city of Galesburg has been asked by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to conduct additional lead testing at the resident’s request and provide public education on lead.
The Water Quality Association (WQA), an Illinois-based not-for-profit organization, is offering informational resources regarding lead in drinking water. The Association has compiled answers to several of the most common questions. The more resources can be found here.
What are potential health effects from lead?
Lead poisoning often displays no outward symptoms; however, irritability, weight loss, vomiting, constipation, and stomach pain are possible signs to look for. Young children and pregnant women are at the greatest risk, even from short-term exposure. Reduced cognitive development and neurobehavioral deficits are associated with blood levels less than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (mg/dL) in children. Therefore, there is no safe level for lead to be present in the blood of children. Individuals will adsorb more lead if they have poor nutrition than those with better diets. For more information, visit:https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp13.pdf and https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/acclpp/blood_lead_levels.htm
Where can I go to get my water tested?
Water testing should be done be a certified testing laboratory. WQA strongly recommends water testing be conducted at each point of use in accordance with appropriate sampling procedures. The water should be checked after a period of disuse before a specific water treatment product is selected. Water conditions can change, so the water should be tested both before a treatment product has been installed and at regular intervals following installation. State certified labs can be found here: https://www.epa.gov/dwlabcert/contact-information-certification-programs-and-certified-laboratories-drinking-water
How do I find a certified professional?
To find a water treatment provider (WQA member) and in your area, please visit WQA’s searchable database: https://www.wqa.org/Find-Providers
To find certified water professionals who have completed WQA’s professional certification program, please visit: https://www.wqa.org/Programs-Services/Resources/Find-Providers/Find-Certified-Professionals
Where do I find a certified product?
American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited entities offering product certification include: Water Quality Association’s Product Certification Program, NSF International, International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, and Underwriters Laboratory. All of these certifiers have product listings. To find WQA certified products and links to the manufacturer’s website, visit wqa.org. Contact information for local professionals and manufacturers of certified products can also be found at wqa.org. Confirmation of WQA’s accreditation can be found on ANSI’s website.
How are standards developed?
A standard is a document, established by consensus that provides rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) facilitates the development of American National Standards (ANS) by accrediting the procedures of standards developing organizations (SDOs). These groups work cooperatively to develop voluntary national consensus standards.
How does WQA test water filtration products?
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) provides accreditation for product certification programs to ensure the marketplace can gain confidence for their activities. In addition, Eco-labeling/Sustainability Certification Programs are also accredited. Certification is the reliable way an industry helps direct consumers to products that most effectively do what they’re looking for. WQA has a searchable database of all product certification listings: https://www.wqa.org/Find-Products#/. The process for certification includes:
o Performance Testing: The product will undergo rigorous testing to ensure compliance with the standard to which it is being certified.
o Literature Review: The product’s installation manual, performance data sheet, and data label will be evaluated for specific requirements set forth by standard guidelines.
o Facility Audit: Facility audits will be conducted on an annual basis. The production of certified products will be evaluated to ensure that the systems being marketed are the same systems that were tested and certified. These audits also maintain consistent communication between the WQA and the applicant company throughout the certification period.
o Certification: Once the product has completed performance testing, the file will be reviewed and a decision on certification will be made. If all sections of the standard have been achieved, certificates will be issued. Upon certification, a product is required to bear the WQA Gold Seal. Confirmation of certification can be found on the WQA website.
Filters Certified to Reduce Lead
Several different types of water filters have been certified by WQA Gold Seal for reducing lead in drinking water:
Filters Certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 53 Reduction Claims for Drinking Water Treatment Systems
- Pour-through pitcher/carafe: Water drips through a filter in a water pitcher using gravity.
- Faucet mount: Mounts on kitchen faucet. Uses diverter to direct water through a filter.
- Counter-top connected to sink faucet: Connects to existing sink faucet through a hose/tubing.
- Plumbed-in to separate tap or to kitchen sink: Installs under a sink; filtered water is usually dispensed through a separate faucet directly to the kitchen sink.
Filters Certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 58 Reduction Claims for Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Treatment Systems
- Reverse Osmosis (RO): Connects to your plumbing under the sink and uses a membrane filter to reduce lead (also can reduce minerals/Total Dissolved Solids).
Look for the WQA mark to ensure the filter or cartridge you are buying is certified. It must say NSF/ANSI 53 or NSF/ANSI 58 for lead claim to be sure it reduces lead.
How do I maintain a filter once it is installed?
Always follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions and contact the manufacturer to confirm usage and capacity. To ensure the manufacturer can provide the most accurate recommendations, have test results for lead and iron on hand for review.
WQA is a not-for-profit trade association representing the residential, commercial, and industrial water treatment industry. To best serve consumers, industry members and government officials, WQA has an ongoing dialogue with other organizations representing all aspects of the water treatment industry. Since 1959, the WQA Gold Seal certification program has been certifying products that contribute to the safe consumption of water. The WQA Gold Seal program is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC).