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California Water Regulations

Why doesn't BOROUX ship to California?

Short Story: California has certain requirements for water filter products. BOROUX is in the process of meeting those requirements.

Selling water filters in California involves adhering to a stringent set of regulations designed to protect consumer health and ensure product efficacy. Compliance with lead-free certification, rigorous product testing, and applicable ANSI accredited certifications. Water treatments devices with health or safety related claims must be certified and registered with the state. Water treatment devices making aesthetic claims for taste, appearance, and odor, do not have to be certified, and registration with the state is optional. Manufacturers must register applicable products with the California Department of Public Health. The most relevant state statues for BOROUX products are Assembly Bill 100 (also known as the "no lead law"), Assembly Bill 119 (amendments the Business and Professions Code, and the Health and Safety Code, relating to water treatment devices), and Proposition 65 (also known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act). Obtaining the necessary business licenses is also mandatory.

Currently, our team is actively working on meeting the requirements. It's a lengthy process, with multiples steps, and inspections. BOROUX foundation filters are tested to NSF standards, meaning the testing that the filters have undergone are the same tests that the NSF certifications require.

To sell water filters in California:

  1. Ensure the products meet lead-free requirements and are certified by an accredited body.
  2. Have the water filters tested and certified to relevant NSF/ANSI standards.
  3. Label the products correctly, including certification marks and performance data.
  4. Comply with California Proposition 65, if applicable.
  5. Obtain necessary business licenses and permits.

    Lead-Free Law

    One of the most critical requirements for selling water filters in California is compliance with the state’s "Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act." Since 2010, California law banned the sale and use of any pipe, pipe or plumbing, fitting, or fixture intended to convey or dispense water for human consumption through drinking or cooking that is not "lead-free." This law mandates stringent lead-free standards for any product that comes into contact with drinking water.

    • Lead Content Limit: Water filters must have a maximum lead content of 0.25% on wetted surfaces. This ensures that harmful lead levels do not leach into drinking water.
    • Third-Party Certification: Products must be certified by accredited organizations to verify compliance with these lead content limits. Certification marks must be prominently displayed on the product. The certification process includes extensive water quality testing in accordance with national standards. Accreditation means that the testing laboratory has the capability, personnel and equipment to fully and accurately evaluate these devices. These organizations provide information on water treatment devices certification:

      Code Updates

      The California state legislature amended Assembly Bill 119 in 2013. The changes involve regulations regarding water treatment devices in California. It updates the rules on how these devices, such as filters, can be sold when they make certain claims. According to the new regulations, any health or safety claims related to these devices must be certified by the State Department of Public Health or a similar entity.

      Manufacturers are required to submit detailed information to the department, including their contact details, product identification, and the specific contaminants their device claims to remove. This information will be included on the department's website. Additionally, manufacturers will need to pay a regulatory fee to cover the costs of publishing this information and conducting enforcement actions.

      Starting from July 1, 2015, the packaging of these water treatment devices must clearly state which contaminants the device is certified to remove. Furthermore, after this date, each water treatment device sold in California must include a specific decal, as specified by the new regulations.

      "Existing law prohibits a person from making a claim in connection with the sale or distribution of a water treatment device, as defined, that the device affects the health or safety of drinking water, unless the device has been certified by the State Department of Public Health or another entity, as specified. Existing law requires the department to adopt regulations setting forth the criteria and procedures for certification of water treatment devices that are claimed to affect the health or safety of drinking water.

      This bill would revise the criteria and procedure for certification of water treatment devices for which a health or safety claim, as defined, is made and would require each manufacturer that offers for sale in California one of those water treatment devices to submit specified information, including the manufacturer's contact information, product identification information, and the specific contaminant claimed to be removed or reduced by the device, to the department for purposes of inclusion on the department's Internet Web site. This bill would also require each manufacturer to pay a reasonable regulatory fee to pay for the cost of publishing information on the department's Internet Web site and for conducting enforcement actions. The bill would require, after July 1, 2015, the exterior packaging of certain water treatment devices to clearly identify the contaminant that the device has been certified to remove or reduce, as specified. The bill would also require the manufacturer of certain water treatment devices, after July 1, 2015, to include a specified decal with each water treatment device offered for sale in California."

      Proposition 65 (Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986)

      Proposition 65 requires businesses to provide warnings about significant exposures to chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.

      • Warning Labels: If the water filter contains any listed chemicals, it must have a clear and reasonable warning label.
      • Purpose: Proposition 65 requires businesses to provide warnings about significant exposures to chemicals known to the state of CA that cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.
      • Compliance: Water filter manufacturers must ensure their products do not contain hazardous chemicals listed under Proposition 65 or must provide clear warnings if they do.
      The State of California’s Title 22 Drinking Water Standard Section 64591 states:

      “after March 9, 2008 a water system shall not use any chemical, material, lubricant, or product in the production, treatment or distribution of drinking water that will result in its contact with drinking water... that has not been tested and certified as meeting the specifications of NSF International/American National Standard Institute (NSF/ANSI) 61-2005/ Addendum 1.0 - 2005 (Drinking Water System Components - Health Effects.)”

      Certifications

      California state laws require products that make health-related claims to be certified by independent, accredited organizations. “Health or safety claim” means any claim that the water treatment device will remove or reduce a primary contaminant such as any physical, chemical, biological, or radiological substances or matter in water.

      Water treatment devices that only make an aesthetic benefit claim, such as chlorine reduction, elimination of bad taste and/or odor is not applicable to the registration program. Device models certified for NSF/ANSI Standard 42 (testing for aesthetic effect ONLY) is not applicable to the Water Treatment Devices Registration Program. 

      • NSF/ANSI Standards: Products should be certified to NSF/ANSI standards, such as NSF/ANSI 42 (aesthetic effects), NSF/ANSI 53 (health effects), NSF/ANSI 58 (reverse osmosis), and NSF/ANSI 401 (emerging contaminants).
      • Certification Bodies: Common certification bodies include NSF International, the Water Quality Association (WQA), and Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

      NSF stands for the National Sanitation Foundation. It is an independent, non-profit organization founded in 1944 with a mission to protect and improve global human health. NSF develops public health and safety standards, conducts testing, certification, auditing, education, and provides risk management solutions across a wide range of industries.

      In the context of water filters and similar products, NSF operates various certification programs such as NSF/ANSI 42, NSF/ANSI 53, and NSF/ANSI 61. These certifications ensure that water treatment devices meet specific standards for performance, quality, and safety. NSF-certified products undergo rigorous testing to verify their effectiveness in removing contaminants from drinking water and ensuring that they do not introduce harmful substances into the water supply.

      Beyond water filtration, NSF provides certifications and services in areas such as food safety, dietary supplements, pharmaceuticals, consumer products, sustainability, and environmental protection. NSF's certifications and standards are widely recognized and trusted by consumers, manufacturers, regulatory agencies, and industries worldwide as symbols of quality, reliability, and integrity.

      ANSI stands for the American National Standards Institute. It is a private, non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel in the United States. ANSI coordinates the development and maintenance of thousands of standards across a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, technology, healthcare, and safety.

      Established in 1918, ANSI serves as the official U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and other international standard-setting bodies. The organization facilitates collaboration among stakeholders, including industry representatives, government agencies, academia, and consumers, to develop standards that promote innovation, safety, quality, and interoperability.

      ANSI does not create standards itself but rather accredits standards development organizations (SDOs) that establish consensus-based standards through open and transparent processes. These standards address a variety of topics, including product specifications, performance criteria, testing methods, and terminology, providing a framework for ensuring consistency, reliability, and compatibility across different products and systems.

      The relevant NSF standards are:

      NSF/ANSI 42: This standard focuses on the reduction of aesthetic or non-health-related contaminants in drinking water. These contaminants may include chlorine, taste, odor, and particulates. Filters certified under NSF/ANSI 42 are typically used to improve the taste and appearance of water rather than to remove harmful substances. This standard is commonly applied to filters used in residential settings, such as refrigerator filters or point-of-use water filtration systems.

      NSF/ANSI 53: This addresses the reduction of health-related contaminants in drinking water. These contaminants may include lead, mercury, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, and other substances that can pose health risks if present in drinking water. Filters certified under NSF/ANSI 53 are designed to effectively remove or reduce these harmful contaminants, providing consumers with safer drinking water. This standard is often applied to filters used in both residential and commercial settings, where the removal of health-related contaminants is a primary concern.

      NSF/ANSI 61: This standard establishes criteria for the evaluation of materials such as pipes, fittings, coatings, gaskets, and other components used in drinking water systems. These materials must undergo rigorous testing to assess their potential to leach harmful substances, including metals, organic chemicals, and microbial contaminants, into the water. Compliance with NSF/ANSI 61 ensures the safety of materials and components in contact with drinking water, helping to protect public health and prevent contamination of the water supply.

      NSF/ANSI 401: This standard addresses the ability of a water treatment device to remove up to 15 individual contaminants which have been identified in published studies as occurring in drinking water. The contaminants covered in NSF/ANSI 401 have been detected in drinking water supplies at trace levels and can affect some consumers’ perception of drinking water quality.

      This standard offers up to 15 specific contaminant reduction claims. Some of the most popular categories include prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, herbicides, pesticides and chemical compounds.

      The standards are routinely monitored and updated by a joint committee comprised of equal parts public health experts, end users, and industry members.

      Registration

      Manufacturers that want to sell their products that make health claims in California must register and provide proof of the independent certification, additional information may be required depending on the product type. The California Registration program is designed to verify certifications and ensure that literature provided with each model adequately informs customers. The program monitors the marketplace for illegal sales of devices as well as misleading advertisement for ANY water treatment device.

      These certifications serve as important indicators of a water filter product's quality, reliability, and safety. By ensuring that filters meet established standards, consumers can have confidence in their ability to provide clean and healthy drinking water.

      Certification under these standards demonstrates a commitment to quality, reliability, and safety in water filtration. BOROUX's pursuit of certification reflects its dedication to providing consumers with trustworthy and effective water filtration solutions.

      References:

      https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/drinking_water/certlic/device/watertreatmentdevices.html

      https://dtsc.ca.gov/lead-in-plumbing-fact-sheet/

      https://www.phcppros.com/articles/14268-new-california-law-requires-use-of-lead-free-plumbing-fixtures

      https://d2evkimvhatqav.cloudfront.net/documents/dw_nsf_ansi_42_53_401.pdf?v=1594928613

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