Dozens of VIPs and international dignitaries gathered in Ann Arbor last week to recognize not-for-profit NSF International’s 75th anniversary and its many contributions to global public health.

Since its founding in 1944, NSF has developed more than 100 national standards and dozens of other protocols for drinking water filters, dietary supplements, food, personal care products and sustainability programs. More than 600,000 products have been certified by NSF International.

Speakers at the event reflected on public health and safety challenges of the past 75 years, and emerging public health issues like PFAS contamination, lead in drinking water, Legionella outbreaks and new food safety threats.

“I’m so glad to be part of a community and group of leaders, private and public sector, who embrace and understand the power of science to make our lives better. In an era when people don’t know what to believe, trusted sources like NSF International have never been more important,” said U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. “Thank you for the critical work you do every day. We’re proud to work alongside you in the areas of public health, food safety, and protecting our environment.” 

The celebration featured tours of NSF’s state-of-the-art test laboratories, where more than 30,000 products are tested annually, including dietary supplements, drinking water filters, plumbing products, plastic pipes and commercial food equipment.

NSF International President and CEO Kevan Lawlor and NSF International Board Chairman Dick Rabbideau kicked off the program to an audience of more than 800 NSF employees and guests. The ceremony was also live-streamed to NSF locations across the globe. Speakers included:

  • U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow
  • U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell
  • Michigan State Representative Rebekah Warren
  • Michigan State Representative Yousef Rabhi
  • Michigan State Senator Jeff Irwin
  • Dr. Dubois Bowman, Dean, University of Michigan School of Public Health
  • Dr. David Dyjack, Executive Director, National Environmental Health Association
  • France Lemieux, Water and Air Quality Bureau, Health Canada
  • Joann Givens, Director, Human and Animal Food Program - West, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

“I’m genuinely humbled by the number of organizations and individuals who have offered to speak here today. It’s a testament to NSF’s long-standing commitment to collaboration,” Lawlor said. Other special guests and speakers included state and federal regulators as well as leaders from industry, academia and the public health community.

“We don’t give enough credit to organizations like NSF International for the important work they do to make sure the food we eat and the water we drink are safe,” said U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell.

As part of the event, Kevan Lawlor introduced a short video highlighting significant milestones in NSF’s history. “The people of NSF – and the people who collaborate with NSF – have been able to accomplish some amazing things during the last 75 years,” Lawlor said.

Based in Ann Arbor, Mich., NSF International is an independent, public health organization that facilitates voluntary consensus standards and tests and certifies products to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment. Many public health standards in use today were developed by NSF International-led committees, including:

  • The commercial foodservice equipment standards used in restaurants around the country
  • The American National Standards for drinking water additives and plumbing products recognized in 49 U.S. states and nine Canadian provinces
  • The American National Standards for drinking water treatment devices, including residential water filters that claim to reduce lead and other contaminants
  • The American National Standard for dietary supplements, which helps consumers select products that have been tested and certified to meet specific quality and safety requirements

“NSF’s early leaders were tireless in their efforts to develop more consistent national sanitation practices,” Lawlor said. “We must be equally tireless and visionary in our efforts to protect and improve human health and the environment.”

According to Lawlor, NSF now looks to the future with an increased focus on technology, innovation and sustainability.

“The future promises to serve up challenges to environmental and public health that will truly be breathtaking in scope and scale,” said Dr. David Dyjack, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA). “NSF is a national treasure that will be called on again and again to ensure everyone everywhere can reach their full potential free from preventable harm. NEHA for its part and its 6,300 members intends to walk with you every step of that noble journey.”

Source: NSF International