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NSF International, The Public Health and Safety Co., and the Water Quality Association (WQA) recently sponsored a meeting of bioterrorism experts at the NSF International World Headquarters. NSF is the world leader in standards development, product certification, education and risk-management services for public health and safety. In addition to NSF and WQA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Army, public utilities, academia and consultants to the water treatment industry were represented. NSF and WQA will develop a proposal focused on residential point-of-use (POU) and point- of-entry (POE) water treatment devices and their potential role in protecting the public from threats of biological and chemical terrorism.
The NSF/WQA proposal will address the potential role of POU/POE technology in protection of critical infrastructures i.e. government offices and military services and the public. The proposal will determine device effectiveness, market device performance and ensure required maintenance and proper disposal of contaminated devices. Current standards do not provide testing for biological or chemical threats. The CDC is conducting research to identify safe-to-handle surrogates. NSF and WQA will work closely with the CDC and the U.S. military to assist in surrogate research and the development of POE and POU performance standards.
"The Water Quality Association is dedicated to building consumer confidence and trust in water treatment products and services," said WQA Technical Director Joseph F. Harrison, P.E., CWS-VI. He advised that, "The full scope and performance integrity of POU and POE drinking water treatment products must be substantiated with factual test data following scientifically valid test procedures."
"Precautions need to be taken nationwide to protect water sources from terrorist attacks," said Gordon Bellen, NSF's Vice President of Research. "NSF plans to continue its public health protection role to ensure that drinking water is protected against potential terrorist threats."