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Water Quality Association Statement on Events
07 October 2001

Below is the Water Quality Association’s (WQA) statement addressing consumer’s concerns on terrorism and our water supplies.

     Many Water Quality Association members have been asking questions about the capabilities of different POU drinking water systems to remove or reduce the biological or chemical agents of chemical and bioterrorism. These questions obviously originate from consumers who are concerned about the potential assault on our nation’s drinking water supplies. We need to provide them with accurate and credible current information.

     There are many possible toxic biological organisms as well as chemical substances of concern. The USEPA, along with the CDC, state administrators, and American Water Works Association are already working with water utilities to increase their vigilance of source water investigations, security measures, and analyses to make sure they can detect such agents. The first defense against this potential health threat is in the hands of the water utility management and their central treatment processes and analytical procedures. You should point out their present increased awareness and actions to drinking water customers.

     The bacterial, viral, and different chemical sabotage and terrorist threats have not yet been encountered in waters and, thus, have not, of course, been incorporated in Drinking Water Treatment Unit product designs or performance standards. Specifically, our drinking water treatment unit products have not been tested and certified for their effectiveness in reducing these exotic chemical or biological sabotage agents.

     However, distillation, RO, UV, and fine filtration units may provide
additional protection barriers against many of these agents. For example, anthrax spores are two to six microns in size, similar to protozoan cysts. Products tested and certified for their effectiveness in cyst reduction likely would also effectively reduce anthrax. Many biological organisms are inactivated by heat in a POU distillation unit. Similarly, ultraviolet light disrupts the reproduction mechanism in microorganisms, rendering them inactive. Regarding chemical agents, RO units and carbon filters may reject or adsorb these toxic compounds, although they may not have been specifically tested for a particular chemical.

     In conclusion, it is best not to claim any specific abilities by our
products in this matter, but it is appropriate to point out that they may provide some level of benefit to the user. You can encourage them to use the products per the manufacturer’s directions, but exercise care not to make unsubstantiated claims regarding performance.

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Last Updated:
Feb 3rd 2009
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