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March/April 2011
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ASTM International Selected as Third Party Certifier for USDA’s New Biobased Label

Certification Program for Biobased Products to Determine Product and Package Biobased Content

ASTM International has been selected to provide certification for the U.S. Department of Agriculture biobased labeling program, a voluntary initiative to identify biobased products and to promote their sale among consumers seeking to purchase goods using renewable resources.

As the selected provider, ASTM International will manage the Certification Program for Biobased Products, which will determine the product and package biobased content for manufacturers and vendors that choose to participate. The products will be tested by an outside accredited laboratory according to ASTM standard D6866, Test Methods for Determining the Biobased Content of Solid, Liquid and Gaseous Samples Using Radiocarbon Analysis.

Kenneth Pearson, ASTM International senior vice president, who oversees certification programs, notes the benefits of ASTM’s involvement: “ASTM’s role in the biobased labeling program puts our strengths to work on behalf of manufacturers who want to demonstrate their commitment to renewable resources, the labs that will provide the testing and the consumers interested in buying such goods.”

ASTM standard D6866, which is under the jurisdiction of ASTM Committee D20 on Plastics, can be used for products containing carbon-based components that can be combusted in the presence of oxygen to produce carbon dioxide gas. According to the USDA, biobased products with the appropriate content from renewable sources should reduce petroleum consumption, reduce adverse environmental and health impacts, and improve economic development by creating new jobs and providing new markets.

In 2002, USDA launched the BioPreferred program to identify biobased products — those with renewable plant, animal, marine or forestry materials as their main ingredients. The biobased labeling initiative, launched in February, demonstrates that an individual product has been tested and certified to have the minimum biobased content determined for a particular USDA identified product category or be at least 25 percent biobased for those products where a product category has not yet been established. According to USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen A. Merrigan, “With a plethora of labeling claims in the marketplace, consumers want to know that what they are investing their dollars in is meaningful, that it is backed by some sort of certification. ASTM, working with USDA, will provide that certification.”

To apply to have a product or packaging certified for the biobased program, go to www.biopreferred.gov. Once accepted into the program, manufacturers will be directed to the ASTM Certification Program for Biobased Products at www.astm.org/certification.

For further information, contact Timothy Brooke, ASTM International (Phone: 610-832-9729).

C09 Committee Chairman Addresses University of Illinois Engineering Class

On Jan. 24, Anthony Fiorato, Ph.D., former chairman of the ASTM International board of directors and current chairman of ASTM International Committee C09 on Concrete and Concrete Aggregates, spoke to a group of students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign during a construction materials deterioration course. The graduate level course in civil and environmental engineering covers the corrosion of steel and the deterioration of concrete and organic polymers.

Fiorato shared his insights with the group about the importance of codes and standards learned during his career, which has spanned more than 35 years. Fiorato has lectured and published extensively, and his contributions have been recognized through numerous professional awards. Professor Leslie Struble, Ph.D., who teaches the course, is also active in the work of ASTM technical committees covering cement and concrete.

ASTM Business Meeting

The 2011 ASTM Annual Business Meeting will be held at the Members Breakfast on Wednesday, May 18th, during the May committee week meetings in Anaheim, Calif. The complimentary breakfast begins at 7 a.m. at the Marriott Anaheim Hotel. Contact Maureen Houck, ASTM International, for more information (phone: 610-832-9594).

Standards Roundtable Held at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

ASTM President James Thomas Moderates Discussion of Standards System

ASTM International hosted Patrick Gallagher, Ph.D., for a roundtable session with more than 40 members of the standards and technology community at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 20. Gallagher is the undersecretary of commerce for standards and technology, and the director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

James A. Thomas, president of ASTM International, served as moderator of the discussion, which focused on the success of the standards system and the continued importance of the public/private sector partnership on challenging issues facing the community.

Recently, the U.S. Congress passed and President Obama signed the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 that sets funding levels for science programs at NIST and various other federal agencies.

ASTM staff meets with SACON Jan. 21, ASTM International staff met with representatives from the Standardization Administration of the People’s Republic of China (SAC) at ASTM International headquarters in West Conshohocken, Pa. Discussion during the meeting focused on the shared history and past cooperation of ASTM and SAC, standards development, and future strategy and potential cooperation projects.

Sharing infor about Committee E33 and academic outreachIn early January, Liu Fei, ASTM International’s chief representative in China, joined representatives from Armstrong World Industries at Tongji University in Shanghai, China, to present information about ASTM International, the standards of ASTM Committee E33 on Building and Environmental Acoustics, and information on ASTM’s academic outreach program, in particular the 2011 Jumpstart Your Career campaign. Included here are: Jerry Li (second from left), acoustic specialist, Armstrong World Industries (China) Ltd.; Jiang Guorong (third from left), professor of architectural acoustics and director of the Institute of Acoustics at Tongji University; Ken Roy, Ph.D. (fourth from left), senior principal research scientist, Building Products Technology, Armstrong World Industries; and Liu Fei (sixth from left).

ASTM meet with South Korean standards experts

Eight standards experts from South Korea spent two weeks at ASTM International in an intensive training program focused on nuclear energy standards.

ASTM Hosts Representatives of South Korean Civil Nuclear Program

Delegation from South Korean Government and Industry Spends Two Weeks at ASTM Headquarters

From Jan. 17 to Feb. 2, ASTM International hosted a delegation of eight standards experts from South Korean government and industry at ASTM headquarters in West Conshohocken, Pa. The delegation was led by the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards, with which ASTM has collaborated extensively since signing a memorandum of understanding in May 2006. During this intensive training program, the delegation focused on the nuclear energy standards promulgated by ASTM Committees C26 on Nuclear Fuel Cycle and E10 on Nuclear Technology and Applications.

The program was conducted by ASTM International, KATS, the Korean Standards Association and Korean industry. Funding for the program was provided primarily by the South Korean government with additional support from South Korean industry. ASTM prepared the educational content and made logistical arrangements.

On their arrival, the delegates launched into a weeklong concentrated training program covering the U.S. standardization system and ASTM International’s standards development process. The delegates also came prepared to discuss specific ASTM standards that they reference in their daily work and to offer suggestions for revisions to existing standards. In addition to meeting with key ASTM staff members, the week at headquarters also afforded the delegation the opportunity to conduct virtual meetings with members from ASTM technical committees to gain insight into their technical work.

During the second week of training, ASTM staff organized site visits for the delegation to gain practical insight into the use of ASTM International standards. These visits took place at New Jersey-based companies that provide components for building nuclear power plants.

The delegates traveled to ASTM’s Washington, D.C., office, where they met representatives from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and from Advanced Systems Technology and Management Inc., on behalf of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The delegates were also invited to the U.S. Department of Commerce to visit with staff from the International Trade Administration and learn about the U.S. Civil Nuclear Trade Initiative. In addition, the delegation spent one afternoon at the National Institute of Standards and Technology to visit the NIST Center for Neutron Research.

Before departing Washington, the group met with a senior director from NACE International (formerly the National Association of Corrosion Engineers), which works in close collaboration with ASTM Committee D33 on Protective Coating and Lining Work for Power Generation.

The delegation completed their training program by attending the January committee week meetings of ASTM Committees C26 and E10 in Baltimore, Md. Attendance at the meetings allowed the group to observe the ASTM consensus process in action. During the committee meetings, ASTM committee officers and members engaged the delegation in their technical and administrative discussions.

ASTM International has conducted a similar program for the plastics industry in India and is planning another focused on road and highway construction for the Middle East. Such programs provide extensive hands-on training and can be tailored to various sectors.

Elementary Class Benefits from Virtual Lesson on Playground Standards

When George Weinhardt, a teacher at Garnet Valley Elementary School in Glen Mills, Pa., began a problem-based learning unit on creating a proposal for a new playground layout, he reached out to several companies who could help give the students a better idea of how much thought goes into constructing a playground and what the students should consider while planning.

Weinhardt’s request to ASTM International resulted in a virtual meeting with ASTM staff to introduce the students to the world of standardization and to review the available ASTM technical standards on playground equipment and playground surfacing.

The students’ project involved researching information, interviewing other students and adults, analyzing data and writing a persuasive piece on the types of equipment they would recommend. Students will use the information they gained from the virtual meeting to write a persuasive paper about having one piece of equipment installed or a piece removed from their current playground.

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