Safe Materials for Drinking Water Gaskets

While the human body can sustain weeks without food, it can go no more than days without water. Water is life. Through municipal water systems and the connected plumbing that delivers it, many people have ready access to the water they require for daily use. We are very fortunate to have access to this vital resource.

No matter whether derived from rivers, lakes, reservoirs, or aqueducts, water is purified before it enters into circulation for public consumption. However, introducing clean water into the distribution system doesn’t guarantee the delivery of safe water to the final consumer. There are plenty of opportunities for water to become tainted from leached contaminants as it travels through the system’s piping and infrastructure.

Contaminants which can pollute drinking (potable) water as it travels through the distribution structure include chemicals that can leach from the products, components, and materials used in the system. To ensure consumer safety, only materials certified as safe by a reputable certification agency should be used in the manufacture of joining and sealing products for drinking water applications.

There are three major standards that address the safe use of joining and sealing materials in drinking water applications within the USA and Canada. Certification of materials to these standards should be sought when specifying joining or sealing products for all potable water applications:

  • NSF/ANSI 61 (Drinking Water System Components – Health Effects). This standard, developed by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), includes criteria for testing and evaluating products to ensure they do not leach hazardous contaminants into water. Developed by a team of scientists, industry experts and key industry stakeholders, NSF/ANSI 61 establishes minimum criteria for impurities and contaminants that may be released indirectly into drinking water from products, components and materials, including joining and sealing materials such as gaskets and seals.

  • NSF/ANSI 372 (Drinking Water System Components- Lead Content). Developed by NSF and ANSI, NSF/ANSI 372 is a method for measurement used to comply with NSF/ANSI 61, specifically with respect to the lead content of drinking water materials and products.

  • AWWA Standard C111/A21.11 (Rubber Gasket Joints for Ductile Iron Pressure Pipe and Fittings). This American Water Works Association (AWWA) standard covers rubber gasket joints for ductile-iron pressure pipe, ductile-iron and gray-iron fittings, for valves, hydrants, and other appurtenances for water supply service. The AWWA C111/A21.11 standard covers vital gasket physical properties like pressure rating, compression set, and more.

Safe Materials for Drinking Water Gaskets: AB-576 EPDM

Archaic demands for rubber gaskets were for non-certified red SBR (Styrene Butadiene).

An antiquated low-cost staple in the water industry from a time when product safety standards were not prevalent. Styrene has been identified by the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) as a possible human carcinogen. In addition, non-certified SBR gaskets can leach other harmful contaminants including benzothiazole, mercaptobenzothiazole, nitrosamines, and phthalates. Exposure to these compounds can cause health disturbances that range from minor to severe, depending upon the level of exposure.

To avoid these issues and ensure safety, CRG uses AB-576 EPDM from American Biltrite to manufacture gaskets and other sealing solutions which service drinking water applications.

Gaskets and sealing solutions fabricated from AB-576 EPDM have the following advantages:

  • Made from material that is NSF/ANSI 61 certified AND meets AWWA standards

  • Excellent resistance to heat, ozone and sunlight

  • Superior resistance to cold and hot water

  • ASTM Grade (D2000:1BA715Z1)

Key technical specifications for AB-576 EPDM are given below:

All gaskets CRG makes from AB-576 EPDM material are produced using the latest CNC technology in our ISO 9001-registered facility, assuring close-tolerance cutting with superior quality, fit and finish. We are equally adept at handling short-run or long-run orders. Short order turnaround and emergency service are available upon request.

If you are sourcing gaskets or other sealing solutions for drinking water applications, CRG will be pleased to review your needs and explain the advantages of AB-576 EPDM material.

To find out more about how we can help with your safe drinking water needs, please contact our sales team directly at