The first NSF International standard designed specifically for swimming pool treatment chemicals was finalized in September 2015. At that time, NSF/ANSI 50: Equipment for Pools, Spas, Hot Tubs, and Other Recreational Water Facilities was expanded to include an updated Section 3.2 and Annex R, Toxicology Review and Evaluation Procedures for Swimming Pool Treatment Chemicals.

The new pool chemicals Annex R was developed by a task group consisting of public health professionals, recreational water facility operators, and treatment chemical manufacturers. NSF International would like to thank all members of the NSF/ANSI 50 Annex R Task Group for sharing their time and expertise in the development of the pool chemicals evaluation criteria.

At this time, the scope of NSF/ANSI 50 Annex R is focused in the area of health effects parameters, including oral, inhalation and dermal exposure. NSF/ANSI 50 Annex R does not address or evaluate the performance or efficacy claims pertaining to chemicals.

The health effects requirements are especially important for chemicals that are not covered by the scope of the U.S. EPA Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) requirements. These products undergo a separate evaluation/registration through the EPA Office of Pesticides, according to the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act.

Disinfectants, algaecides and other biocides that are registered by EPA are not subject to the additional risk assessment criteria of NSF/ANSI 50 Annex R. However, routine analysis for trace contaminants is required for all pool chemicals under the requirements of the new annex.

A complete overview of the content of NSF/ANSI 50 Annex R was provided in an article titled “On its Way — Chemicals Standard,” published in the 2015 NSF Special Insert to Aquatics International Fall Edition.

Up until the development of NSF/ANSI 50 Annex R, there had not been a universally recognized evaluation protocol for the evaluation of pool chemicals. In many areas, product certification to NSF/ANSI 60, which addresses the health effects of drinking water treatment chemicals, is currently used as a requirement for regulatory acceptance of chemicals used in pool/spa water treatment.

However, although the scope of NSF/ANSI 60 addresses oral exposure (of water treated with a certified chemical), NSF/ANSI 60 does not include parameters related to dermal or inhalation exposure of treatment chemicals, parameters that now are included under NSF/ANSI 50 Annex R for pool chemicals.

In the coming years, it is anticipated that many public health officials will adopt NSF/ANSI 50 certification as a regulatory requirement for chemicals used in the treatment of pools, spas and other recreational water facilities.