Contaminant Reduction Claims Guide

All sources of drinking water can contain some contaminants. At low levels, most of these contaminants are not considered to be harmful by agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Health Canada or World Health Organization. Some contaminants are naturally occurring in the environment, including radon, radium and arsenic. People, animals and industry can also add contaminants to our water supplies.

Below is a list of contaminants and drinking water additives that may be found in drinking water. To view a list of systems certified to treat that issue, click on one of the effective product technologies listed in the right hand column. If you don’t see your contaminant issue listed, contact the NSF Consumer Office at info@nsf.org for further assistance.

Substance EPA Maximum Contaminant Level Effective Product Technologies
2,4,5-TP 0.05 mg/L Filtration (also see VOC reduction)
2,4-D 0.07 mg/L Filtration (also see VOC reduction)
Alachlor 0.002 mg/L Filtration (also see VOC reduction)
Arsenic (pentavalent) 0.01 mg/L Distillation (up to 300 ppb)
Filtration (up to 50 ppb)
Reverse Osmosis (up to 50 ppb)
Reverse Osmosis (up to 300 ppb)
Arsenic (trivalent) 0.01 mg/L Distillation
Asbestos 7 MFL (million fibers per liter) Filtration
Reverse Osmosis
Atrazine 0.003 mg/L Filtration (also see VOC reduction)
Bacteria 0 (zero) Microbiological Purifiers
Ultraviolet Disinfection
Barium 2 mg/L Cation Exchange Softeners
Distillation
Reverse Osmosis
Cadmium 0.005 mg/L Distillation
Filtration
Reverse Osmosis
Carbofuran 0.04 mg/L Filtration (also see VOC reduction)
Chloramine 4 mg/L Filtration
Chlordane 0.002 mg/L Filtration

Chlorides

(Note: part of TDS category)

250 mg/L

Distillation
Reverse Osmosis

Chlorine 4 mg/L Filtration
Chromium 0.1 mg/L Distillation
Filtration
Reverse Osmosis
Copper 1.0 mg/L Distillation
Filtration
Reverse Osmosis
Cysts (Cryptosporidium, Giardia) 0 (zero) Filtration
Reverse Osmosis
Dibromochloropropane 0.0002 mg/L Filtration (also see VOC reduction)
Ethylene dibromide 0.00005 mg/L Filtration (also see VOC reduction)
Fluoride 2.0 mg/L Distillation
Reverse Osmosis
Hardness N/A Cation Exchange Softener
Heptachlor epoxide 0.0002 mg/L Filtration (also see VOC reduction)
Hydrogen sulfide N/A Filtration
Lead 0.015 mg/L Distillation
Filtration
Reverse Osmosis
Mercury (inorganic) 0.002 mg/L Filtration
Methoxychlor 0.04 mg/L Filtration (also see VOC reduction)
MTBE (methyl tert-butyl ether) N/A Filtration
Nitrates 10 mg/L Reverse Osmosis
Nitrites 1 mg/L Reverse Osmosis
O-dichlorobenzene 0.6 mg/L Filtration (also see VOC reduction)

Particulate/Sediment

Note: Particulate reduction is divided into six classes:

Class I – 0.5 to < 1 micron in size
Class II – 1 to <5 microns in size
Class III – 5 to <15 microns in size
Class IV – 15 to <30 microns in size
Class V – 30 to <50 microns in size
Class VI – >50 microns in size

N/A Filtration
PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) 0.0005 mg/L Filtration
Perchlorates N/A Reverse Osmosis
Radium 226/228 5 pCi/L Cation Exchange Softener
Reverse Osmosis
Radon 300 pCi/L (proposed) Filtration
Selenium 0.05 mg/L Distillation
Reverse Osmosis
Sodium
(Note: part of TDS category)
N/A Distillation
Reverse Osmosis
Sulfate
(Note: part of TDS category)
250 mg/L Distillation
Reverse Osmosis
Styrene 0.1 mg/L Filtration (also see VOC reduction)
Total dissolved solids (TDS) 500 mg/L Distillation
Reverse Osmosis
Toxaphene 0.003 mg/L Filtration
Trichloroethylene (TCE) 0.08 mg/L Filtration (also see VOC reduction)
Turbidity N/A Filtration
Reverse Osmosis
Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) Varies Filtration
Reverse Osmosis
 
Note: Products certified for VOC reduction will reduce the following contaminants:
alachlor; atrazine; benzene; carbofuran; carbon tetrachloride; chlorobenzene; chloropicrin; 2,4-D; dibromochloropro-pane; o-dichlorobenzene; p-dichloroben-zene; 1,2-dichloroethane; 1,1-dichloro-ethylene; cis-1,2-dichloroethylene; trans-1,2-dichloroethylene; 1,2-dichloro-propane; cis-1,3-dichloropropylene; dinoseb; endrin; ethylbenzene; ethylene dibromide; haloacentonitriles; haloketones; heptachlor epoxide; hexachlorobutadiene; hexachlorocyclo-pentadiene; lindane; methoxychlor; pentachlorophenol; simazine; styrene; 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane; tetrachloro-ethylene; toluene; 2,4,5-TP; tribromo-acetic acid; 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene; 1,1,1-trichloroethane; 1,1,2-trichloroethane; trichloroethylene (TCE); trihalomethanes (THMs); xylenes
Xylenes 10 mg/L Filtration (also see VOC reduction)
Zinc 5 mg/L Filtration

Consumer Resources Mailing List

Consumer Resources Newsletter

View Mailing List Archives

close