Did You Know?

    ASTM standards offer new and unique story ideas for reporters.


    Camping with Standards

    Whether you are planning to camp in a national or state park or forest, or even in your own backyard, proper planning, along with the proper gear and supplies, can be the most important part of any camping experience. ASTM Subcommittee F08.22 on Camping Softgoods, a part of Committee F08 on Sports Equipment and Facilities, has several test methods that cover such subjects as thermal insulation of sleeping bags, flammability of sleeping bags, sleeping bag packing volume, backpack capacity and mountaineering tents. Equipment and gear that adhere to ASTM safety standards are intended to make camping a safe and enjoyable activity. However, in the interest of total safety, it is important that all camping areas (especially those in parks and forests) have trained search and rescue personnel on hand. ASTM Committee F32 on Search and Rescue has developed more than 40 standards for search and rescue activities that address communication systems, climbing harnesses, life safety ropes, search and rescue dogs, and techniques for land searches and water and rope rescues, as well as guides for the training of various types of search and rescue responders.

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    Wimbledon, Grass & Standards

    Wimbledon, the oldest and what many consider the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, is played annually in late June/early July. Wimbledon is different from the other three grand slam tennis tournaments because it is the only tournament still played on grass, which is the original surface for the game of tennis. Grass courts consist of grass grown on very hard-packed soil, and ball bounces depend on how healthy the grass is, the length of the grass, and the wear and tear of the court from recent play. Think that sounds like the perfect recipe for a standard? Committee F08 on Sports Equipment and Facilities thought so, which is why it developed ASTM F1953, Standard Guide for Construction and Maintenance of Grass Tennis Courts. F1953 addresses construction and maintenance procedures for playing surface quality. These procedures are essential because a grass tennis court should provide a relatively uniform, high quality playing surface as it relates to footing and ball bounce - all important factors that surely can affect the players and the outcome of a match.

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    Pool Safety

    Swimming pools are a great way to pass the time and cool off on a hot summer day. Proper supervision is the number one way to prevent pool injuries and drowning. In addition, there are other precautions that can be taken to keep pool areas safe and secure. A proper fence can act as a barrier all around a pool. ASTM F1908 provides recommended minimum requirements for various types of fences for residential outdoor swimming pools, hot tubs and spas. Other safeguards and preventative measures include pool alarms and covers. ASTM F2208, Standard Safety Specification for Residential Pool Alarms, covers devices that provide for rapid and automatic detection and alarm in cases of unintentional or accidental entry of a child into a swimming pool or spa, while ASTM F1346 establishes requirements for swimming pool safety covers. It is important to remember the popular above-ground pools as well. Subcommittee F15.60, a part of Committee F15 on Consumer Products, has developed ASTM F2666, which addresses pool hazards such as childhood drowning, sanitation, electrical safety and entrapment for portable pools for residential use. Keep these ASTM standards in mind to ensure that your pool is as safe as it is fun this summer.

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    Workplace Safety

    According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, electrical hazards cause more than 300 deaths and 4,000 injuries in the workplace each year. For more than 35 years, ASTM Committee F18 on Electrical Protective Equipment for Workers has developed standards to help keep electrical workers safe. F18 oversees 42 standards that cover topics such as personal protective equipment and tools, and protective and fire-resistant apparel. Electrical workers can face many hazards and must be fully protected to prevent injuries. The members of Committee F18, which includes safety officers, utility workers and laboratory technicians, are dedicated to keeping these workers safe through ASTM standards.

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    Head Protection

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 3.8 million concussions related to sports and recreational activities occur in the United States each year. Wearing a properly fitting helmet that conforms to ASTM safety standards is one of the best ways to prevent brain injuries. ASTM Subcommittee F08.53 on Headgear and Helmets, a part of Committee F08 on Sports Equipment and Facilities, has developed standards on helmets for a variety of sports and recreational activities, including football, ice skating, skateboarding, bicycling and roller skating, BMX cycling, pole vaulting, martial arts, bull riding and horseback riding. Visit the ASTM website for more information on helmet standards.

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    Forensic Sciences

    Movies and television shows on crime scene investigations and forensic sciences have continued to grow in popularity over the past few years. Most viewers probably never thought of the role that standards play in this area. ASTM's forensics standards cover the scientific methodologies used in forensic investigations done in conjunction with criminal or civil legislation. There are ASTM forensics standards on criminalistics, digital and multimedia evidence, examiner education and training, and questioned documents, to name a few. Visit the homepage of ASTM Commitee E58 on Forensic Engineering for more details. Also visit the ASTM Standards and Engineering Digital Library for information about the Journal of Forensic Sciences, which was published by ASTM from 1972 through 2005 and includes original investigations, observations, scholarly inquiries and reviews in various branches of the forensic sciences.

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    Toy Safety

    Parents and other consumers shopping for children’s toys now have an added benefit – an important safety law designed to protect the young children receiving those gifts. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which states that all toys sold in the United States for children 12 years of age and younger must meet the safety requirements of ASTM F963, Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety, and went into effect in February 2009. ASTM F963 includes important safety measures already required under federal law as well as guidelines and test methods to help prevent injuries from choking, sharp edges and other potential hazards. The standard is reviewed and updated on a regular basis by ASTM Committee F15 on Consumer Products.

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    Summer Fun

    There are ASTM standards for a variety of items used for outdoor summer fun, whether you are camping in your own backyard or relaxing on your favorite lawn furniture. Check Committee F15 on Consumer Products for standards for outdoor equipment such as home playgrounds, trampolines, inflatable amusement devices and portable pools. For those on the go, Committee F08 on Sports Equipment and Facilities has you covered with safety standards for bicycles, scooters, skateboards, fun karts and more.

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    Eye Safety & Protection

    There is often a focus on the use of proper helmets for sporting and other recreational activities, but it is important to remember eye safety and protection as well. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, an estimated 2.5 million eye injuries occur in the United States each year. Proper protective eyewear should be worn to avoid eye injuries when participating in sporting activities. ASTM F803 is a safety specification that covers eye protectors designed for use by players of basketball, baseball and soccer as well as racket sports, women's lacrosse and field hockey. In addition, Subcommittee F08.57 on Eye Safety for Sports, a part of Committee F08 on Sports Equipment and Facilities, has standards for eye protectors for skiing and paintball, and is developing new standards for airsoft sports and selected motor sports.

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    Indoor Air Quality

    Radon is a colorless and odorless radioactive gas that affects indoor air quality worldwide and is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers. To increase the public’s awareness of the hazards of radon and promote radon testing and mitigation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has designated January as National Radon Action Month. EPA encourages state radon programs to conduct special radon outreach activities and events across the United States during the month of January. EPA recommends the use of two ASTM International standards related to radon: ASTM E2121, Standard Practice for Installing Radon Mitigation Systems in Existing Low-Rise Residential Buildings, for residential radon mitigation, and ASTM E1465, Standard Practice for Radon Control Options for the Design and Construction of New Low-Rise Residential Buildings, for radon control in new residential construction. Both standards are under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee E06.41 on Air Leakage and Ventilation Performance, part of ASTM Committee E06 on Performance of Buildings. For additional information on protecting your loved ones from radon, visit www.epa.gov.

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    Cigarettes & Fire Safety

    A member of the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes, ASTM International has developed a standard that has been incorporated into many laws and also contributes to saving lives by preventing smoking-related fires. Ignition-resistant cigarettes that perform well in ASTM E2187, Standard Test Method for Measuring the Ignition Strength of Cigarettes, are less likely to start fires when left unattended. ASTM E2187, which is under the jurisdiction of ASTM Committee E05 on Fire Standards, has already been adopted in the majority of U.S. states and nationwide in Canada, where the standard is also available in French, and Finland has proposed that all cigarettes sold in that country be tested using ASTM E2187.

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    Clothing & Apparel

    Garments will be tried on and purchased as buyers search for the most updated and comfortable styles. But even though clothing trends change often, the importance of a good fit and quality fabric never go out of style, which is where ASTM Committee D13 on Textiles comes in. From infants and children to juniors and adults and even maternity, designers and retailers look to Committee D13 for standards covering sizing and body measurement as well as fabrics, yarns, threads, labeling and more. Committee D13 has developed standards for a wide variety of apparel from suits, ties, dresses, blouses and coats to denim, swimwear, pajamas, T-shirts and scarves. Next time you are shopping for new clothing, remember the role ASTM standards play in helping you get that “perfect fit.”

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