About the Issue | Lead in Water

About NSF and the NSF 53 Standard


NSF is the National Sanitation Foundation founded in 1944 with a mission to protect and improve global human health. NSF is an independent organization which develops public health standards and standardized tests to evaluate the health and safety as well as the performance claims of consumer goods. To have a NSF standard certification on a consumer product means more than the manufacturer simply paid a trade organization fee. The certified listing indicates that an in depth technical evaluation by scientific experts, yearly manufacturing audits, and certified independent third-party test evaluations conducted under published standardized test protocols has been performed.


NSF/ANSI standards are developed over years with panels of experts which include participants from private, government, and academic sectors. The standards developed sometimes have performance requirements for drinking water contaminants that even exceed the USEPA requirements. The NSF/ANSI 53 standard for lead reduction performance is a good example; the USEPA requirement for lead in drinking water is 15 parts per billion and the NSF/ANSI 53 standard requirement is 10 parts per billion. When a product has a certified lead-reduction listing available on an independent third-party site you can be assured that it was tested under rigorous conditions not just once or twice but for its entire rated service life under well-defined test conditions. Why aren’t more bottles and pitchers certified listed for lead reduction? because it is a difficult test to pass!   


The NSF standard for lead reduction requires the product to be tested under two pH conditions to evaluate that both dissolved (soluble) lead and particulate lead (tested at pH 6.5 and 8.5 respectively) are reduced by the product. Both forms of lead can be found in drinking water and each form of lead requires a different mechanism to be removed from water. What is so special about the astrea patented technology is that it was developed specifically to remove both forms of lead for low pressure applications like pitchers and water bottles. Lead reduction in traditional formats like under-the-sink or whole house filters is well developed and mature but technology for on-the-go drinking water products have been slow to catch up.


How does lead get into my water?

Lead containing distribution pipes, dwelling pipes, brass fittings, and lead solder are all susceptible to corrosion or leaching of both soluble and particulate lead into water. Different regional or municipal water chemistries can also exacerbate the corrosion and leaching of lead into the water such, low alkalinity, low pH, iron, and organic matter like fluvic and humic acids.[1] Lead leached into the water can fluctuate based on the usage of the system, seasonal variations, or disturbances in the system. Having an on the go water treatment solution allows you to have safer drinking water throughout your day and keep the plastic bottles on the store shelf and out of the dump.

[1] Best Practice Guide on the Control of Lead in Drinking Water. Colin Hayes. IWA Publishing Alliance House. 2010.


USA Today produced an excellent video, and report on the issue: 

Live news feed of the lead issue: