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About the Water Quality Association and its Role Certifying Water Filters

Who is Water Quality Association (WQA)?

Since 1959, the WQA Gold Seal certification program has been certifying water treatment point-of-entry and point-of-use (at the tap or whole house treatment) 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).

In 2013, the WQA Sustainability Certification Program was established and is currently the only environmental certification program in the world to earn ANSI accreditation to ISO 17065 and ISO 14024 for Type I Environmental Labeling. This provides independent, third-party verification that a product is environmentally responsible in all phases of its life cycle: from raw materials, production, distribution, use-phase, and all the way through to end-of-life disposal. View the ANSI listing webpage and certificate for accredited certification programs.

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:

The process for certification includes:

  • Performance Testing: The product will undergo rigorous testing to ensure compliance with the standard to which it is being certified.
  • Literature Review: The product’s installation manual, performance data sheet, and data label will be evaluated for specific requirements set forth by standard guidelines.
  • 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.
  • 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 mounts: Mounts on the kitchen faucet. Uses diverter to direct water through a filter.
  • Countertop connected to sink faucet: Connects to the 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.