Plastic Pipe and Fitting Testing

  • Overview
  • Benefits of Certification
  • Why Work With NSF?
  • Certification Process

NSF International is the plastic industry’s leading testing and certification organization, with proven experience in certifying various types of plastic pipes and fittings used in today’s global applications. From drinking water to radiant floor heating systems, our experts can help ensure your product is tested and certified against the appropriate standards for your distribution and can even help you expand into international markets with ease.

The NSF mark is the industry’s most widely recognized and most respected certification mark for plastic piping products.

Benefits of Certification

NSF certification ensures your product meets health and performance standards for plastic pipes and fittings required by regulators, public health officials and manufacturers. All major model plumbing codes require third-party certification. Additionally, NSF test data collected may be submitted to other agencies (such as ASSE, CSA, IAPMO, ICC and others) to maximize reach while minimizing costs.

For manufacturers and public health officials, NSF certification benefits include:

  • NSF mark recognition, faster market access and expedited regulatory acceptance
  • Third-party confirmation, reducing potential liability issues
  • Ongoing support related to technical development and regulatory requirements
  • Online listing of certified products, including product type, product trade name, manufacturer name and location

Why Work With NSF?

The NSF mark is accepted in all U.S. states and all Canadian provinces and territories. NSF International is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), International Accreditation Service (IAS) and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) for its testing and certification programs.

The NSF mark, well respected by public health officials, retailers and consumers, is recognized as a symbol of product quality and integrity. Our responsive personalized service quickly guides your products through the certification process, ensuring that they get to market on time and on budget. We offer bracketing services wherever possible to help keep costs down, and provide the pricing up front so there are no hidden surprises down the road.

Certification Process

While our product evaluations are thorough, our process is simple and efficient. A dedicated NSF project manager serves as your single point of contact from application to approval for a streamlined, efficient certification process.

  1. Your company submits an application.
  2. Your company and suppliers provide formulation, design specifications and product end use information.
  3. We review formulation and engineering specifications.
  4. We perform a plant audit and sample collection.
  5. We conduct laboratory testing.
  6. We grant certification for compliant products.
  7. Our follow-up program includes unannounced inspections and annual testing.

Our experts can help you reduce your overall costs and expedite your time to market by bundling services and reducing the number of contracted service providers and facility audits.

Related to Plastic Pipe and Fitting Testing

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  • Open How do I know plastic plumbing products are safe for use?

    Most state drinking water regulations and local plumbing codes require PE and PEX tubing and fittings conveying drinking water to meet NSF/ANSI Standard 61 to ensure components will not contribute harmful levels of contaminants to drinking water. All U.S. model plumbing codes and 46 of the 50 U.S. states require PVC drinking water system components to meet the requirements of NSF/ANSI Standard 61.

  • Open What is NSF/ANSI Standard 61?

    NSF/ANSI Standard 61: Drinking Water System Components-Health Effects is the American National Standard for health effects of drinking water system components. It establishes the health effects requirements for the chemical contaminants and impurities that are indirectly imparted to drinking water from products, components and materials used in drinking water systems.

    NSF/ANSI Standard 61 is overseen by the NSF Drinking Water Additives Joint Committee comprised of representation from the regulatory community, the manufacturing industry and user groups. The American National Standards Institute accredits NSF standards development procedures to ensure a balanced committee of stakeholders develops the standards in an open process. The NSF Council of Public Health Consultants, a group of 30 representatives from academia and local, state and federal regulatory agencies, provides technical advice on and oversight of the NSF standards.

    The NSF Health Advisory Board is a standing task group that consists of toxicologists from the U.S. EPA, Health Canada, state and provincial agencies, industry and private consulting firms. This group is responsible for reviewing and approving all allowable contaminant concentrations that are published in NSF/ANSI Standard 61.

  • Open How are plastic pipe, fittings and system components tested?

    First, we perform a formulation review of the material to determine what possible contaminants could leach out into drinking water and what type of chemical extraction testing is necessary. Our policy does not allow lead as an ingredient within plastic pipe formulations.

    We expose products to formulated exposure waters, and then analyze these exposure waters for contaminants. We use three separate formulated waters during product exposure: pH 5.0 and pH 10.0 (with 2 mg/L available chlorine for PE pipe and fittings) for extraction of metallic contaminants, and pH 8.0 for organic-based contaminants.

    PE products are tested at an ambient temperature of 73° F (23° C). PEX tubing samples containing water are heated to 140° F (60° C) for domestic hot water systems or 180° F (82° C) for commercial hot systems.

    Products are conditioned by exposure to the formulated waters (with the addition of 2 mg/L available chlorine for PE products) for 14 days, with water being changed on 10 of those days.  We then analyze the water collected from the final 16-hour exposure period for contaminants.  Any contaminants found must be below EPA or Health Canada levels for regulated contaminants.  For non-regulated contaminants found, NSF/ANSI Standard 61 sets health based pass/fail levels based on review of available toxicity data using the risk assessment procedures in annex A of the standard.

  • Open What types of analyses are performed on PEX tubing?

    Water exposed to PEX tubing and associated fitting systems is tested for the following contaminants as required by NSF/ANSI Standard 61:

    • VOCs (Volatile organic compounds)
    •  
    • Semi-volatile compounds (base neutral acid scan by gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy)
    •  
    • Phenolics
    •  
    • Regulated metals including antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, selenium and thallium
    •  
    • Methanol
    •  
    • Tertiary butyl alcohol
    •  
    • MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether)
    •  
    • Any other potential contaminant identified during the formulation review

    These test methods are capable of detecting contaminants in water as low as 4 parts per billion (4 ppb) and lower, equivalent to a 0.0000004 percent concentration.

  • Open What types of analyses are performed on PE pipe and fittings?

    Water exposed to PE pipe or fittings is tested for the following contaminants as required by NSF/ANSI 61:

    • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
    •  
    • Semi-volatile compounds (base/neutral/acid target and scan by GC/MS)
    •  
    • Regulated metals including antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, selenium and thallium
    •  
    • Any other potential contaminant identified during the formulation review
  • Open What types of analyses are performed on PVC products?

    Water exposed to PVC products is tested for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), phenolics, residual chloride monomer (RVCM), antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, selenium, tin, thallium, phthalates (for flexible PVCs) and any other potential contaminant identified during the formulation review.

  • Open How do I know if plastic plumbing products meet this requirement?

    Plastic pipe, fittings and system components meeting the health effects requirements of NSF/ANSI Standard 61 bear either the NSF-61 mark or the NSF-pw (potable water) mark on the print string.  The NSF-pw mark indicates the product meets the health requirements of NSF/ANSI 61 as well as the performance, long-term strength and quality control requirements of NSF/ANSI Standard 14: Plastic Piping Components and Related Materials.

    If a PEX product has only an NSF-rfh mark, this indicates the product has only been evaluated for radiant floor heating applications.

    If a PVC product has only an NSF-dwv or NSF-sewer mark, the product has only been evaluated for drain, waste and vent applications or for sewer applications, respectively.

  • Open Where can I find NSF listed products?

    NSF certified products can be found in our online listings.

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