Underwriters Laboratories launches bottled water safety certification program
WaterWebster staff report
April 14, 2008
The new Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certification mark will enable bottled water companies to demonstrate to the public that the quality and safety of the water has been validated by a third party, UL said in a news release.
Under the program, UL will independently test water for bottlers who want the certification label. If the water passes the tests, UL will certify to consumers that it meets Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) requirements.
In addition, UL said it has “extensive analytical capabilities for contaminants of emerging concern including pharmaceuticals and is happy to offer this testing to bottled water producers who are interested in this service.” The Associated Press last month reported on the prevalence of small amounts of drugs in U.S. water supplies.
“Consumers can feel confident that when they see the UL Certified Water Quality Mark on bottled water, that the global leader in product safety certification, with more than 100 years of service, has independently tested the safety and quality of the water,” said Jeff Smith, general manager, UL Global Water Business.
In the summer of 2007, UL commissioned a blind market research study to quantify the value of the UL Mark among U.S. consumers of bottled water. According to the company announcement, the study found that in every tested scenario there was significant consumer preference for bottled water brands that carry the UL Mark, and that many consumers would switch brands or pay more to get the benefits of the UL Mark.
“High consumer preference toward the UL Mark demonstrates the public’s desire for independent verification that bottled water meets all federal regulations for quality and safety,” said Ann Marie Gebhart, UL Water Program director. “The UL Mark is one of the most widely recognized and trusted safety symbols in the world. Bottled water manufacturers who partner with UL can now very effectively communicate their commitment to the quality and safety of their products.”
UL said its drinking water analytical laboratory in South Bend, Ind., has more than 20 years of experience analyzing bottled water in accordance with FDA standards. UL staff also have served on the Technical and Government Relations committees for the IBWA and they continue to make presentations to the water industry. In 2007, UL was awarded the IBWA Plant Inspection Contract, allowing UL to conduct unannounced annual third-party audits of bottled water plants for IBWA members and candidate members.
The news release said UL’s water quality certification program is fully accredited in the United States and Canada. UL also is a recognized certifier of water products and water testing by the EPA and is an active participant on numerous national standards committees and industry task groups.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is an independent, not-for-profit product safety certification organization that has been testing products and writing Standards for Safety for over a century, according to its news release. It said UL evaluates more than 19,000 types of products, components, materials and systems annually, with 21 billion UL Marks appearing on 71,000 manufacturers’ products each year. UL’s worldwide network of companies and service providers include 66 laboratory, testing and certification facilities serving customers in 104 countries, the company said.
More information on UL's capabilities can be found at www.ul.com/water and by contacting the laboratory at 800.332.4345.
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