In response to the importation of contaminated drywall that caused health and safety hazards when used in home construction, the Drywall Safety Act of 2012 (PL 112-266) cites ASTM International standard C1264-11, Specification for Sampling, Inspection, Rejection, Certification, Packaging, Marking, Shipping, Handling and Storage of Gypsum Panel Products. C1264 provides the CPSC, states, suppliers and consumers with an effective tool for supply chain communication by specifying that each gypsum panel must be marked for its thickness; the name of the producer or supplier; brand name, if any; and the ASTM specification for the product. The inclusion of C1264 in the Drywall Safety Act will help builders and consumers better understand the origin and source of drywall and other gypsum products.
In May, ASTM International hosted a European-American Business Council roundtable discussion in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, with visiting members of the European Parliament. During the discussion, ASTM’s Jeffrey Grove, vice president, global policy and industry affairs, explained that one way to eliminate non-tariff barriers to trade is to ensure that the standards and regulatory policies of Europe, Canada and the United States provide governments and industry with the flexibility to choose from a broad portfolio of international standards based on technical quality and adherence to principles established by the World Trade Organization.
ASTM International co-sponsored the 2012 Engineering Public Policy Symposium in May with 33 other engineering societies that represent more than 2 million engineers around the world. The symposium, which took place in Washington, D.C., served as a forum to highlight key issues related to research and development. Featured speakers included representatives from President Obama’s administration, U.S. Congress and industry.
On May 1, the White House issued Executive Order 13609, “Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation,” with the goal of encouraging “exports, growth and job creation by eliminating unnecessary regulatory differences across nations.” The EO directs U.S. agencies to take the international implications of their work into account in a consistent and comprehensive way, and it recognizes that strong regulatory policy supports good trade policy. ASTM International provided input and recommended that, as the U.S. government pursues international regulatory cooperation in venues such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and in bilateral regulatory dialogues with Canada, the European Union and Mexico, it should continue to promote the flexibility for governments and industry to choose from a broad portfolio of international standards. The choice of standards would be based on criteria such as technical quality, market relevance and adherence to principles established by the World Trade Organization.
To improve the safety of infant swings and prevent child injuries and deaths, a new U.S. federal mandatory safety standard incorporating provisions from ASTM F2088, Consumer Safety Specification for Infant Swings, was passed unanimously by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Establishing a minimum safety level that an infant swing product must meet before it can be sold in the U.S., the ruling relies on the ASTM standard developed by Subcommittee F15.21 on Infant Carriers, Bouncers and Baby Swings, part of ASTM International Committee F15 on Consumer Products.
In 2012, Rhode Island was the first U.S. state to require that children’s jewelry manufactured after Dec. 18, 2012, conform to the requirements of ASTM F2923-11, Specification for Consumer Product Safety for Children’s Jewelry. The Comprehensive Children’s Jewelry Safety Act is designed to protect children from potential hazards in jewelry such as cadmium, lead, magnets, liquid-filled items and choking. ASTM F2923 includes recommendations for age labeling and warnings, guidelines for identifying the primary intended users of the jewelry, and descriptions of numerous possible hazards posed by children’s jewelry.