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 April 2006 Global Notebook

CPSC Approves New Flammability Standard for Mattresses

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has approved a new federal standard to reduce the severity of mattress fires. The new mandatory flammability standard for mattresses is the first major regulation passed by the CPSC in the agency’s history. A major rule is one that has more than a $100 million annual impact on the economy. When fully effective, CPSC estimates the new mandatory standard for mattresses is likely to save as many as 270 lives, preventing 78 percent of the deaths, and 84 percent of the injuries currently occurring every year. The mandatory standard addresses mattress fires ignited by open flame sources, including matches, candles, lighters, and other related scenarios. The test protocol was developed in coordination with the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Under the new mandatory federal rule, mattress sets must meet a performance standard. The CPSC does not specify how manufacturers are to design their mattresses to meet the standard. The new federal standard for mattresses goes into effect on July 1, 2007. Cigarette ignition is covered by a separate mandatory standard, which has been in place for more than 30 years, during which deaths and injuries from mattress fires caused by smoking materials have fallen dramatically.

EPA P3 Program: Sustainability Competition

On May 9 and 10, more than 200 college and university students will head to the U.S. Capitol to compete for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Second Annual P3 (People, Prosperity, Planet) Award on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. This will be an opportunity to see new technologies developed by the P3 students and their faculty advisors, learn what other government agencies and nonprofits are doing in the sustainability arena, see what sustainable products are being sold, and recruit potential hires with backgrounds in engineering, science, law, economics, etc. The competition will culminate in an awards ceremony to highlight the projects selected to receive the P3 Award, which potentially features a $75,000 grant.

Chinese National Standards Added to Inventory of ANSI Electronic Standards Store

The American National Standards Institute has added more than 13,000 Chinese national standards to the inventory of products available at its eStandards Store. The addition of the new collection of Chinese GB (Guojia Biaozhun, Chinese for national standard) will facilitate access to the procedures, guidelines and requirements necessary for companies that intend to do business in the People’s Republic of China. Developed and maintained by the Standardization Administration of China, a government agency responsible for centralizing the Chinese standardization system and ANSI’s counterpart in China, the standards are currently available in Chinese (Mandarin). To assist in the identification of the Chinese GB standards needed by ANSI’s public- and private-sector constituents, document titles for the entire collection are available in English. With support from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, ANSI will provide the abstracts of nearly 1,000 of the most-requested Chinese GB standards into English by mid-year 2006. In a reciprocal agreement, SAC and the Standards Press of China will distribute an ANSI-provided collection of U.S. standards in China. Hard copies of the GB standards will also be made available through ANSI’s reseller channel.

STLE Annual Educational Meeting and Exhibition

The Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers Annual Educational Meeting and Exhibition will be held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, May 7-11. Friction, lubrication, wear and erosion are the focus of the sessions on lubrication engineering and tribology. Topics include gears, metalworking fluids, condition monitoring, seal technology, bearings, hydraulic systems, power generation, synthetic lubricants and nanotribology. Some courses offer certificates upon course completion. Preparation and certification exams are available for certified lubrication specialist, certified metalworking fluids specialist and oil monitoring analyst. For more information and registration visit the STLE Web site at www.stle.org/annual_meeting/index.cfm or contact Beth Weinstein (phone: 847/825-5536 x201).

Senior U.S., Mexican Officials Sign Landmark Agreement on Cement

U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez joined U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman and Mexico’s Secretary of Economy Sergio Garcia de Alba in March to sign the U.S.-Mexico Agreement on Cement. The agreement resolves the 16-year dispute over the U.S. antidumping duty order on imports of gray portland cement from Mexico. It settles all litigation regarding outstanding claims for duties before U.S. and international courts, and divides, between the parties, the deposits of estimated antidumping duties. It also establishes a limit of three million metric tons of imports of Mexican cement to enter the United States at an antidumping duty rate of $3 per metric ton, and allows for an increase in the event of disasters. The agreement also includes elements for mutual trade liberalization, including provisions to help increase access for U.S. producers to the Mexican market. If the terms of the agreement are adhered to over its three-year life, the agreement will be terminated and the antidumping duty order revoked. //

 
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