“Some units have an EPA registration number and an EPA establishment number. EPA registration (unlike that of NSF, WQA, or UL) is not intended to guide consumers in selecting a water treatment device, and is not an endorsement of the product. EPA registers any product that contains an antimicrobial (germ-killing) or bacteriostatic (slowing or inhibiting growth of germs) agent. EPA registers these products because consumers cannot independently verify whether the germ-related claims they make are true.
For most units, an EPA registration number means that the filter uses a bacteriostatic agent to slow the growth of microbes within the filter, the unit does not pose a human health threat, and EPA has verified all bacteriostatic claims on the label. Registration is not an endorsement of the filter or its performance. The most commonly used bacteriostatic agent is silver.
EPA also registers a type of water treatment device known as a purifier. A purifier must remove, kill, or inactivate all types of disease-causing organisms from the water, including viruses. Few water treatment devices can meet these criteria. These units typically work using a disinfectant within the filter to kill or inactivate microbes. Most purifiers are used by hikers or campers and are not generally needed in homes served by public water systems unless there is a water emergency.”
EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs’ Antimicrobial Division Web page provides additional information on antimicrobial product registrations.
For further information or assistance, you may contact the Antimicrobial Division by phone at 703-308-6411, or through the Pesticides Frequent Questions Database.
If you have questions about the safety of your drinking water, please contact the Safe Drinking Water Hotline.