The Difference Between USP, ASTM and NCCLS Water

June 12, 2018

There are many different organizations in the United States that set some fairly strict standards for water purity. Certain types of facilities, such as labs and medical centers, must meet the strictest of these compliance standards to ensure their water is as pure as possible.

Organizations with their own sets of water standards include AAM, ANSI, ASTM, CAP, NCCLS and USB, with three of these (ASTM, USP and NCCLS) being particularly prevalent in a variety of industry settings. If you’re hoping to meet these stringent purity standards, you’ll need a high-quality filter using technologies such as reverse osmosis, cartridge filtration, deionization or ultraviolet, among others.

Here is some information about these various purity standards and why it’s important to engage in industrial or commercial water purification in Cincinnati, OH.

Pure water in industrial settings

Laboratories are an example of an industrial setting that requires ultrapure water, as that high level of purity will prevent tests from being contaminated by impurities in the source water. Having water that meets the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) and the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards (NCCLS) is the best way to accomplish this.

The NCCLS and ASTM classify ultrapure water into three different types, depending on the purity level of that water. Both organizations have similar parameters in this regard, though there are some slight differences. As a general rule, though, here’s what you can expect in both NCCLS and ASTM specifications for water purity categories:

  • Type I Reagent Grade Water: This is ultrapure water used for extremely sensitive laboratory procedures, such as DNA sequencing, in which laboratory workers must achieve a very high level of accuracy. This grade is by far the most stringent filtration requirements and purity standards.
  • Type II Reagent Grade Water: This is pure water used in general lab testing and a variety of other analytical applications, such as procedures in the field of microbiology. This is the most commonly produced grade of water for lab environments.
  • Type III Reagent Grade Water: This is the lowest grade of water allowed in lab environments, making it suitable for rinsing off glassware. It can be used in other qualitative analyses as well.

USP differs slightly in that it also deals with shelf life standards for water purity. Purified water must be used in producing USP products, with the manufacturing of those products being controlled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Ultrapure water cannot be placed in plastic or glass containers, as those types of containers will leak contaminants.

Regardless of the water quality standards, one overarching factor is that there is no such thing as completely pure water. Even Type I water might require additional purification, depending on the application for which the water is being used. If the water is being used for microbiology experimentation, it must be completely sterile before being used.

For more information about water purity standards, contact Ultra Pure Water Technologies, LLC and we will be happy to teach you more about commercial water purification in Cincinnati, OH.

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