Consumer Resources

As an independent global health and safety organization, NSF International tests and certifies products and writes standards for the food, water and consumer goods industries. Founded in 1944 as the National Sanitation Foundation, we changed our name to NSF International in 1990 as we expanded our services worldwide. The letters NSF do not represent any specific words today.

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Stores, restaurants, offices and other facilities are taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. And you have a role to play too!

Staying home is the best way to prevent the spread of the virus, but you can take simple steps to minimize your risk when you go out in public.

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Most Popular Q&A

  • Open What kind of contaminants is bottled water tested for?

    Bottled water must be checked for the presence of many different contaminants as well as other quality characteristics, including:

    • Aesthetic contaminants, which can adversely affect the taste, odor or color of the water, including iron, manganese, zinc, chloride, sulfate and total dissolved solids.
    • Health-related contaminants, for which a potential health hazard has been established. Impurities included in this category are arsenic, chromium, lead, mercury and nitrates. In addition to heavy metals and radiological issues, bottled water is checked for many volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), including pesticides and other synthetic chemicals.
    • Microbiological concerns, including coliform bacteria, which are not disease-causing themselves but indicate the possibility that other disease-causing bacteria may be present. Since bottled water companies are required to ensure their water is microbiologically safe, many choose to disinfect their water prior to bottling through a process such as ozonation, ultraviolet disinfection or chlorination.
  • Open What other items in the home has NSF found to be a germ hot spot?

    If you thought that the bathroom is the germiest place in most homes, this isn’t always the case. In fact, in a 2011 NSF germ study, we discovered that the highest concentration of germs was found in the kitchen. Which items were the germiest? The kitchen sponge, kitchen sink and coffee maker reservoir were all found to contain bacteria or yeast and mold.

    Read more about this study, including what other items in a typical home were found to contain germs and how to make sure to keep them clean.

  • Open Are any household bleach products NSF certified for treating drinking water?

    Currently, there isn’t an easy way to distinguish which household-type bleach products are certified under NSF/ANSI 60. All NSF certified bleach products are grouped together under the chemical name Sodium Hypochlorite.

    To find possible household bleach products, scan the list for those that are 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite. You can then contact the company or check its website to see if its bleach products are sold at the retail level.

  • Open What does it mean when a supplement is NSF certified?

    Dietary supplements are evaluated under NSF/ANSI 173: Dietary Supplements to confirm that they actually contain the ingredients and quantities shown on the label as well as to make sure they do not contain excessive levels of impurities like heavy metals or pesticides. NSF also audits each company’s production sites to confirm they are following the good manufacturing practices (GMPs) set forth for their industry. Certification must be renewed annually to ensure each product continues to comply with all requirements to maintain product certification.

    Visit the NSF online database for a full list of NSF certified supplements.

  • Open What does NSF certification of home water treatment systems cover?

    NSF certification of home water treatment covers four major areas:

    Structural integrity. Systems (and some components such as housings) intended for direct connection to a water service undergo pressure testing to confirm they won’t crack or leak when installed on a pressurized water line.

    Material safety. Certified systems (and components such as filter media and housings) undergo extraction testing to determine if they introduce any impurities into the water that could pose a health risk. American National Standards limit the amount of impurities that certified systems can introduce based on U.S. EPA or Health Canada drinking water standards, whichever is more strict.

    Performance testing. We test assembled systems to verify that the finished product is effective at reducing the contaminants claimed on the product label. Testing is done on a pass/fail basis.

    Label claims. We also verify the accuracy of product packaging and labeling to confirm it does not contain any untrue or misleading statements. We verify that percentage reduction claims on the product packaging match our official test results.

  • Open How long is it safe to keep frozen food in the freezer?

    From a microbiological perspective, frozen foods will remain safe for consumption indefinitely. However, freezing foods can affect quality, especially over time.  For recommended maximum storage times for fresh and frozen foods, view our food storage guidelines chart.

  • Open Where can I get an MSDS for a product I saw on your website?

    NSF International would not be able to provide a material safety data sheet (MSDS) for any product that we evaluate. Please contact the product manufacturer directly for assistance. Contact information for manufacturers with NSF certified or registered products is provided in the NSF online listings.

  • Open What types of products can become certified organic?

    Any agricultural product that meets certification requirements may be considered organic. Organic products can include foods ranging from canned products to fresh produce, meats, poultry and bakery products, to beverages including juices and milk, to dietary supplements and even personal care products.

  • Open What is the best way to handle and store water treatment chemicals?

    If you only use your pool or spa seasonally, make sure to check your supply of water treatment chemicals before you start the pool opening process each year to make sure you have everything you need. Check the expiration dates on each product and replace any outdated chemicals. Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for each product and store chemicals in a cool, dry area out of the reach of children.

  • Open Does NSF have any standards for gray water or water reuse?

    NSF/ANSI 350 is an American National Standard that establishes minimum material, design, construction and performance requirements for on-site water reuse systems, including water quality requirements for the reduction of chemical and microbiological contaminants. The treated wastewater produced by certified systems is intended for non-potable water use. Subject to local regulatory approval, the treated water can typically be used for restricted indoor water use, such as toilet and urinal flushing, as well as unrestricted outdoor water use, such as lawn irrigation.

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