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Underwriters Laboratories Announces Improved Testing Methods for Detecting and Analyzing Emerging Contaminants in Drinking Water

Northbrook, Ill., June 21, 2010 - Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a global leader in drinking water quality and safety, today announced that it has combined existing proprietary testing methods for identifying emerging contaminants in water. By using highly specific and sensitive instrumentation practices, UL has developed two new methods that provide cutting-edge and cost effective analytical services for contaminants such as PhACs in the 160,000 water supplies in the U.S.

UL combined its existing methods (L200, L211, L220 & L221) to develop UL test method L222 used for the analysis of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) and Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products (PPCPs). This method focuses on detecting and analyzing nearly 30 most frequently studied and detected contaminants of emerging concern including acetaminophen, bisphenol A, caffeine, DEET, estrone, nicotine, nonylphenol, triclosan, etc. UL also streamlined the analysis of selected semi-volatile organic compounds including sterols, phosphate flame retardants, fragrances, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), phenols, and pesticides to create UL method S190.  Both the L222 and S190 testing methods are used to analyze contaminants of emerging concern found in treated wastewater, surface water, groundwater and municipal drinking water.

According to a report from IMS Health, a leading provider of market intelligence to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, in 2009 global pharmaceutical sales exceeded $773 million. As a result, the consumption of PPCPs has increased significantly over the last 20 years triggering a rise in the amount of PPCPs entering water supplies through excretion, bathing and the disposal of medications in sewers and trash.  Today, UL analytical capabilities include analysis of nearly 120 emerging contaminants including EDCs, PPCPs, flame-retardants, and other contaminants of emerging concern.

"The human health and environmental effects associated with PhACs in water supplies are not well understood at this time," said Dennis Leeke, Business Manager, UL Global Water Business.  "UL recognizes the importance of this growing issue and is one of only a few laboratories in the country that has developed methods to detect pharmaceuticals and other compounds at ultralow levels. We are committed to supporting the drinking water industry by providing water utilities and government agencies with new ways to detect and analyze emerging contaminants more accurately than ever before."

As a global leader in drinking water quality and safety, UL has analyzed more than two million drinking water samples for thousands of public and private entities, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. UL tests water representing more than 7,000 municipalities and is certified in 48 states and Puerto Rico. The company also is an approved certifier of water products that meet the criteria of the EPA's WaterSenseSM program, which identifies and promotes the use of water-efficient products. For more information on UL's water programs and services, visit the water industry section on http://www.ul.com/.