NSF 600 and What It Means to the Coatings Industry

On January 1, 2023, NSF/ANSI/CAN 600, Health Effects Evaluation and Criteria for Chemicals in Drinking Water, will go into effect. This standard, which is used in conjunction with NSF/ANSI/CAN 61, is laying out the new allowable concentrations for some key chemicals that are commonly used to formulate solvent-based lining materials for potable water storage tanks. The chemicals in question are xylene, ethylbenzene, and toluene. Each of these chemicals are seeing significant reductions in their allowable concentrations under this standard. As a result, many commonly-specified products that come in contact with drinking water will no longer be able to be used in these applications once the standard goes into effect.

Considering these conditions, Carboline completed a thorough review of our potable water listings. UL, a laboratory certified by ANSI to review products to the NSF 61 standard, completed the evaluation of our products using the NSF/ANSI/CAN 600 guidelines.

Below are the Carboline products that have been certified by UL to meet the drinking water criteria of NSF/ANSI/CAN 600:

While this standard does not go into effect until January 1, 2023, it may be beneficial to start updating project specifications now for any future projects. Carboline is happy to assist with providing additional information on this standard as well as information on the products that will meet these new guidelines. Please reach out to your local Carboline representative for help with this process.

For additional information, listen to the Carboline Tech Service Podcast:

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Podcast summary:

Brian Cheshire joins Jack Walker and Paul Atzemis to discuss changes coming to the coatings industry due to NSF/ANSI 600. The trio discusses how the standard changes the water tank industry.


Jack Walker (Host)

Paul Atzemis (Host)

Brian Cheshire (Guest)

Hayli Beebe (Announcer)


0:00 – Intro – Live studio audience

Hayli: Hi, this is Hayli Beebe, the Carboline Color Admin. Welcome to the Carboline Tech Service Podcast, the go-to industrial coatings podcast. Here are your hosts Jack Walker and Paul Atzemis.

Jack: Stop it, stop it. You're too kind. You're too kind. Here we are again with the Carboline Tech Service Podcast well...

Paul: With a live studio audience.

J: With a live studio audience in 2020. Corona.

P: Really, we do.

J: No, it's okay, it's okay.

P: Thank you, thank you, thank you.

0:48 – Murdoch update

J: Murdoch update, dude. So, the other day I'm standing outside. I'm hanging out with Murdoch. He got out of the padded wall room. He was showing me his airplane. We were going through everything, how we're going to do this. We talked that Redfearn really wouldn't be a willing participant.

P: Right?

J: He didn't seem to mind.

P: No, it wouldn't be the first person he had tied up, brought into the chopper with him.

J: Yeah, and so. But the weirdest thing happened. This black van with a red spoiler came out of nowhere. They grabbed him, and then he was gone, and I haven't heard from him since. So, you know.

P: So, we may have lost our pilot, at least in the short term.

J: I mean, if you've met this guy, you know, we're at his mercy. He seems totally willing, but you know, we'll have to just kind of do it on his timetable. But it seems like his friends are good at kidnapping people, so we might have to enlist them, too. Whenever you have a problem, they're there, and they can help you to solve it. So, and check out my hook while my DJ revolves it. I don't know where that came from. So, Paul and I are back in the same room again for a little bit just because we are going to over the next couple weeks, bring you some episodes where we have guests on, and logistically this was easier, so I feel like I have an audience again and I'm like trying to be funny.

P: Well, and let's make sure everybody is clear. We are practicing social distancing. We are at opposite ends of two 6-foot tables. So, we have 12 feet between us, but you know the audience that you hear. You know we're in the open tech service area now, so all of the tech service guys are here, and I just saw one of the chemists walk through the space, so...

J: Yeah, calm down, guys. It's okay. We don't… it's fine. It's totally okay.

P: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

J: You know us, we're not that big of a deal

P: That's right.

2:37 – Introduction to Water/Wastewater Market Manager Brian Cheshire

J: All right? So anyway, let's get on to somebody who is a little bit bigger of a deal. If you guys have noticed, we've seen out in the industry there are some changes coming to a major specification that deals with water tanks. So, we thought, what better way to introduce you guys to our new market manager in the water and wastewater industry, and his name is Brian Cheshire. Hey Brian, how's it going?

Brian: Hey, doing great, Jack. Appreciate you guys for having me on here, and I have to say it's quite an honor being able to join the number one rated podcast in Carboline.

J: In Carboline, yeah, that's a key factor that you did right there.

B: Don't want to lie. You know you are number one, and you're number one in all of our hearts.

J: So, Brian, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself, and you know your experience in the industry and kind of what brought you to Carboline?

B: Yeah, sure. So, I joined Carboline in April of this year as the market manager for water/wastewater. While I'm new to Carboline, I'm a veteran in this industry, having spent the last 18 years with some other coating manufacturers in varying roles.

3:37 – All the memberships

B: So, as far as industry involvement, I'm a NACE-certified coating inspector, and I'm a member of SSPC, the American Water Works Association, the Water Environment Federation, The National Rural Water Association, American Concrete Institute, and the International Concrete Repair Institute. So, as you can see, I try to stay pretty active and informed.

J: Wow, your recertification time must be pretty expensive.

B: Pretty costly, yeah, yeah, and time-consuming.

P: No wonder you had to leave sales and go into marketing. You didn't have time to go see customers with all those meetings and teams that you were on.

B: Oh, amen to that.

4:16 – NSF/ANSI 61 Drinking water system components – Health effects

J: So, Brian, it's important that we lay the groundwork for where we are going. Like, it doesn't make any sense if we don't talk about where we have been. So, let's take a minute and talk about the existing NSF 61 potable water standards.

B: Sure, so NSF International, which was originally founded as the National Sanitation Foundation, is a group that has developed quite a few public health standards and certifications, a lot of those being centered around protection of food, water, consumer products, and the environment. How does that apply to coating manufacturers? For our industry, the standard we test our potable water linings to is known as NSF 61. That standard lays out the guidelines and the health effect for what's known as drinking water system components, which can include tank, piping, valve, and within the standard, there's a table that lists varying substances and chemicals. And each of those has a corresponding maximum acceptable concentration or what some people refer to as extractables. And the way these are rated, they're based on a surface area to volume ratio. And so, because of that, the linings that go through this test are rated for a minimum tank size and/or minimum pipe diameter or valve size. And a good rule of thumb here, which, this will pertain to our topic of the day, coatings and linings that are formulated with lower levels of solvents typically can be rated for smaller tanks.

J: Sure, yeah, and everything that you do for potable water is heavily tested. Alright, Paul, so let's talk about a fairly new product to Carboline. It's called the Plasite XAR 470, and that XAR stands for extreme abrasion resistance.

P: That's right, Jack. This is the first in what Carboline will be bringing into this category of products, and the XAR 470 is a ceramic-filled coating for those extreme services where you need high abrasion resistance and fantastic chemical resistance.

J: Yeah, it's got a novolac binder system, so you know novolacs are good for chemical resistance. This is great for slurry pipes, mixing blades, screw conveyors, bulk material handling, sand and chemical mixing, some pump casings. Anything that you think of that needs that extra protection from abrasion. And I don't mean little. I mean, like this is gonna protect your stuff.

P: Extreme.

J: One of the things that I think the general public recognizes, there was a big movement within like water bottles and things like that to be BPA free recently. That is kind of what we're talking about here.

B: Oh, that's right. And you probably heard the buzzword or the term NSF 600.

6:59 – NSF/ANSI 600 Health Effects Evaluation and Criteria for Chemicals in Drinking Water

B: So, what this standard is, it was actually introduced back in 2018. The name of the standard, very riveting title here, is "Health Effects Evaluation and Criteria for Chemicals and Drinking Water." So, the main intent of this new standard was really to create a single source document where the allowable concentrations of various chemicals that I mentioned earlier, a place where those could be housed in a single source. Previously this table was included in both the NSF 61 and the NSF 60 standards. So, that's one main intent of it.

7:40 – Reduction of allowable solvents in coating formulation

B: But one of the other things that came with this new standard was a significant change with some of the allowable concentrations.

J: Sure.

B: So, the ones that are greatly affecting the coating industry are xylene, toluene, and ethylbenzene, and the allowable concentrations of those were lowered significantly, and I'm talking from an 80% to a 99% reduction is kind of the range there, but all of them are greater than 80% reduction. This is a big deal because a lot of the traditional solvent-based linings that have been used historically for lining potable water tanks are formulated with these solvents.

P: That's right, there's xylene and ethylbenzene in a lot of paint formulations. It's a great diluent that helps to break down and make things more easy to apply, easier to spray, especially if you have to do any repairs or touchups. Those types of solvents are really advantageous, and the good part is that they do evaporate out. So, with proper curing, proper ventilation, you end up not having any of that left in the coating because it's evaporated out. But this new standard has made it so that you can't even add it, and it doesn't matter that 99.9% of it's going to evaporate out. You can't add it, except at these incredibly low levels.

J: And I think the key here is that you said, though, proper ventilation, proper application, because we have seen, and there have been studies, or not studies, cases where it has cost coating manufacturers significant amounts of money because the install didn't follow the proper NSF guidelines at the time. So, I feel like we're kind of getting the ruler slapped on our hands, and we're just getting everything taken away.

P: It really does look that way because as if you look back through the standards the way they've been up 'till now, most of these come with a finite thickness range for the paint, you know either not to exceed or a minimum, but not, you know, a maximum range that you have to be in. So, they've always been pretty specific in what you can apply. So, to now go that next step kind of can be looked at to say, yeah, you guys weren't doing a good job at governing yourself. So, now we're going to take it.

J: So, Brian, when do those changes take effect?

B: You know, because this is such a large change with these allowable concentrations, NSF is giving coating manufacturers until January 1, 2023, to be in compliance with this. And after that date, if you're a coating manufacturer and you have a lining that meet NSF 61 first and then also falls under NSF 600, those products will be branded as being certified to both standards.

10:15 – Solvent-based epoxies and water tanks

J: There are some things that can be done now. We know that the changes are coming in 2023. So, if you're out there, you're coating water tanks, and you're using solvent epoxies, chances are, unless you're doing massively large water tanks, those solvented epoxies would no longer be applicable after 2023. Am I going too far out on a limb there, Brian?

B: No, you're totally correct, Jack.

10:50 – 100% solids epoxy and hybrid polyurethane coatings

B: And one common response that you're going to see moving forward with the industry is that more coating manufacturers are going to start promoting, in greater detail, 100% solid epoxies and 100% solids aromatic polyurethane or polyurethane hybrid linings. The way those products are formulated, which you know, with minimum solvent content, will allow them to be recertified under this standard.

P: That's right, and I've already seen the list of ones that Carboline has resubmitted, and either has been recertified or kind of gotten the tentative approval that said yes, when that process goes through, that product is a candidate for recertification.

J: Yes, so we definitely, you know you've heard about some of the products from Carboline. I like to think that we have the best grouping of easy-to-apply 100% solid coatings for water tanks. But Brian, maybe you want to talk about that just a little bit.

11:35 – Benefits of 100% solids epoxy and hybrid polyurethane coatings

B: Yeah, sure. So, speaking of 100 solids, epoxies. You know, as we mentioned a minute ago, you know these will meet this new standard, but you honestly get a lot more benefits other than just that. As Paul mentioned earlier, you can get a higher film build with these products. Oftentimes, you can actually get a faster return to service than a traditional two or three coats epoxy system. You also get a longer service life, and ultimately, lower lifecycle costs, which I know that goes back to a podcast episode you guys did not too terribly long ago talking about the cost of coatings.

12:10 – Service life of coatings

J: So that's a NACE document. It's "The Service Life of Coatings." We linked it previously, and I'll link it again here in this article, but it does clearly show that when it comes to lifecycle or life expectancy, the 100% solids coatings have a significantly longer expectation in potable water service.

P: That's right.

J: We even talked about that, not necessarily in that series, but we had a thick film versus thin film episode recently too, where we gave you some of the advantages of thick film coatings. The huge disadvantage when it comes to thick film coatings and 100% solids is the application. A lot of times, you're in plural component spray. However, every once in a while, a product comes along that has got really good single leg spray. Yeah, we have one.

13:00 – Development of 100% solids epoxy for beneficial application characteristics

J: You should call Paul and his guys and talk to them if you want to learn a little bit more about that because that application isn't going to be all that different than the solvent in epoxies. It's just going to require a slightly bigger pump.

P: That's right.

B: Well, and Jack, another good benefit of looking at 100 solid epoxies and 100 solids aromatic polyurethanes is that these technologies have been out there for a little while now, and they've got a good track record and quite frankly have a lot of case histories out there.

J: That's true, and because when you get into a specialized applicator, they usually like going that direction. You know, that's how they give a value-add to their customer because they're not just doing the same thing that everybody else is doing with these solvents epoxies.

P: That's right, you know our polyurethane, it's ready for immersion in four hours. That really helps, you know, when you're doing the original tank, two hours isn't a huge benefit. But if you have to go in and do repairs or do any touchup spots or when you take out the scaffolding or weld back up the side where your manway was, that fast return to service is really important that you're not waiting another week after you're done before you can put water in that tank.

J: Yeah, humblebrag here for a second, but that that coating did just win a CoatingsPro award for a wastewater basin where we coated an entire massive runoff basin for the Indianapolis Airport, that is the Reactamine 760. Anyway, Brian, is there anything else that you want to add about the shift in direction that this standard is going to force within the industry?

14:30 – How the new NSF 600 standard changes the coatings industry

B: Well, so you're going to see varying responses from different manufacturers. Some may introduce new technologies, while others may decide to reformulate some of their existing coatings linings with different solvent packages in an effort to comply with this standard.

J: The big point here with the NSF 600 is that it is going to drastically change the way we have to specify coatings for these water tanks because of these chemicals that have been identified and are going to be reduced by 80 or 90%. So, if you want, give a quick summary Brian as to where we are, where we're going.

B: So, here at Carboline, we've evaluated our current potable water listing product lineup for compliance to this new standard. And with that said, you know, please note that we're going to have a variety of products that will meet this standard prior to the deadline that I mentioned. And remember that that deadline is January 1, 2023. However, if you're thinking about this and would like to be proactive and start looking at different technologies now, or even look at possibly updating your specification, definitely encourage you to reach out to Paul and his team, the Carboline Tech Service team, for any guidance there.

J: Yeah, but you can get them at

P: That's right.

J: We also have that chat function on our website.

16:00 – Wrap up

J: So, that's Paul and his guys too, so all you have to do is go to if you don't want to remember that email, and you can use the tech service chat function during business hours, Central Standard Time. Brian, thank you very much for having you on the show. I think we're gonna have to have you on again later as we get closer to the deadline, and then I'm sure there's some other things that you'll want to come and talk about too. So, thank you very much for coming on.

B: Yes, sir, thank you guys for the forum today.

J: Alright, well, I'm Jack, that's Paul and Brian. We'll see you next week.

P: And so, for the Carboline Tech Service Podcast, I'm Paul.

J: And I'm Jack. And…

J & P: We'd like to thank you for your support.