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A01 STEEL, STAINLESS STEEL AND RELATED ALLOYS A04 IRON CASTINGS A05 METALLIC-COATED IRON AND STEEL PRODUCTS B01 ELECTRICAL CONDUCTORS B05 COPPER AND COPPER ALLOYS B07 LIGHT METALS AND ALLOYS C01 CEMENT C04 VITRIFIED CLAY PIPE C07 LIME AND LIMESTONE C09 CONCRETE AND CONCRETE AGGREGATES C11 GYPSUM AND RELATED BUILDING MATERIALS AND SYSTEMS C12 MORTARS AND GROUTS FOR UNIT MASONRY C13 CONCRETE PIPE C14 GLASS AND GLASS PRODUCTS C15 MANUFACTURED MASONRY UNITS C16 THERMAL INSULATION C17 FIBER-REINFORCED CEMENT PRODUCTS C18 DIMENSION STONE C21 CERAMIC WHITEWARES AND RELATED PRODUCTS C24 BUILDING SEALS AND SEALANTS C27 PRECAST CONCRETE PRODUCTS D01 PAINT AND RELATED COATINGS, MATERIALS, AND APPLICATIONS D04 ROAD AND PAVING MATERIALS D07 WOOD D08 ROOFING AND WATERPROOFING D09 ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC INSULATING MATERIALS D11 RUBBER D14 ADHESIVES D18 SOIL AND ROCK D20 PLASTICS D35 GEOSYNTHETICS E05 FIRE STANDARDS E06 PERFORMANCE OF BUILDINGS E33 BUILDING AND ENVIRONMENTAL ACOUSTICS E36 ACCREDITATION & CERTIFICATION E57 3D IMAGING SYSTEMS E60 SUSTAINABILITY F01 ELECTRONICS F06 RESILIENT FLOOR COVERINGS F13 PEDESTRIAN/WALKWAY SAFETY AND FOOTWEAR F16 FASTENERS F17 PLASTIC PIPING SYSTEMS F33 DETENTION AND CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES F36 TECHNOLOGY AND UNDERGROUND UTILITIES G03 WEATHERING AND DURABILITY C14 GLASS AND GLASS PRODUCTS C21 CERAMIC WHITEWARES AND RELATED PRODUCTS D01 PAINT AND RELATED COATINGS, MATERIALS, AND APPLICATIONS D06 PAPER AND PAPER PRODUCTS D09 ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC INSULATING MATERIALS D10 PACKAGING D11 RUBBER D12 SOAPS AND OTHER DETERGENTS D13 TEXTILES D14 ADHESIVES D15 ENGINE COOLANTS AND RELATED FLUIDS D20 PLASTICS D21 POLISHES D31 LEATHER E12 COLOR AND APPEARANCE E18 SENSORY EVALUATION E20 TEMPERATURE MEASUREMENT E35 PESTICIDES, ANTIMICROBIALS, AND ALTERNATIVE CONTROL AGENTS E41 LABORATORY APPARATUS E53 ASSET MANAGEMENT E57 3D IMAGING SYSTEMS F02 FLEXIBLE BARRIER PACKAGING F05 BUSINESS IMAGING PRODUCTS F06 RESILIENT FLOOR COVERINGS F08 SPORTS EQUIPMENT, PLAYING SURFACES, AND FACILITIES F09 TIRES F10 LIVESTOCK, MEAT, AND POULTRY EVALUATION SYSTEMS F11 VACUUM CLEANERS F13 PEDESTRIAN/WALKWAY SAFETY AND FOOTWEAR F14 FENCES F15 CONSUMER PRODUCTS F16 FASTENERS F24 AMUSEMENT RIDES AND DEVICES F26 FOOD SERVICE EQUIPMENT F27 SNOW SKIING F37 LIGHT SPORT AIRCRAFT F43 LANGUAGE SERVICES AND PRODUCTS F44 GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT A01 STEEL, STAINLESS STEEL AND RELATED ALLOYS A04 IRON CASTINGS A05 METALLIC-COATED IRON AND STEEL PRODUCTS A06 MAGNETIC PROPERTIES B01 ELECTRICAL CONDUCTORS B02 NONFERROUS METALS AND ALLOYS B05 COPPER AND COPPER ALLOYS B07 LIGHT METALS AND ALLOYS B08 METALLIC AND INORGANIC COATINGS B09 METAL POWDERS AND METAL POWDER PRODUCTS B10 REACTIVE AND REFRACTORY METALS AND ALLOYS C03 CHEMICAL-RESISTANT NONMETALLIC MATERIALS C08 REFRACTORIES C28 ADVANCED CERAMICS D01 PAINT AND RELATED COATINGS, MATERIALS, AND APPLICATIONS D20 PLASTICS D30 COMPOSITE MATERIALS E01 ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY FOR METALS, ORES, AND RELATED MATERIALS E04 METALLOGRAPHY E07 NONDESTRUCTIVE TESTING E08 FATIGUE AND FRACTURE E12 COLOR AND APPEARANCE E13 MOLECULAR SPECTROSCOPY AND SEPARATION SCIENCE E28 MECHANICAL TESTING E29 PARTICLE AND SPRAY CHARACTERIZATION E37 THERMAL MEASUREMENTS E42 SURFACE ANALYSIS F01 ELECTRONICS F34 ROLLING ELEMENT BEARINGS F40 DECLARABLE SUBSTANCES IN MATERIALS F42 ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGIES G01 CORROSION OF METALS G03 WEATHERING AND DURABILITY D21 POLISHES D26 HALOGENATED ORGANIC SOLVENTS AND FIRE EXTINGUISHING AGENTS D33 PROTECTIVE COATING AND LINING WORK FOR POWER GENERATION FACILITIES E05 FIRE STANDARDS E27 HAZARD POTENTIAL OF CHEMICALS E30 FORENSIC SCIENCES E34 OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY E35 PESTICIDES, ANTIMICROBIALS, AND ALTERNATIVE CONTROL AGENTS E52 FORENSIC PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY E54 HOMELAND SECURITY APPLICATIONS E58 FORENSIC ENGINEERING F06 RESILIENT FLOOR COVERINGS F08 SPORTS EQUIPMENT, PLAYING SURFACES, AND FACILITIES F10 LIVESTOCK, MEAT, AND POULTRY EVALUATION SYSTEMS F12 SECURITY SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT F13 PEDESTRIAN/WALKWAY SAFETY AND FOOTWEAR F15 CONSUMER PRODUCTS F18 ELECTRICAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT FOR WORKERS F23 PERSONAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT F26 FOOD SERVICE EQUIPMENT F32 SEARCH AND RESCUE F33 DETENTION AND CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES G04 COMPATIBILITY AND SENSITIVITY OF MATERIALS IN OXYGEN ENRICHED ATMOSPHERES D08 ROOFING AND WATERPROOFING D18 SOIL AND ROCK D19 WATER D20 PLASTICS D22 AIR QUALITY D34 WASTE MANAGEMENT D35 GEOSYNTHETICS E06 PERFORMANCE OF BUILDINGS E44 SOLAR, GEOTHERMAL AND OTHER ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES E47 E48 BIOENERGY AND INDUSTRIAL CHEMICALS FROM BIOMASS E50 ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT, RISK MANAGEMENT AND CORRECTIVE ACTION E60 SUSTAINABILITY F20 HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES AND OIL SPILL RESPONSE F40 DECLARABLE SUBSTANCES IN MATERIALS G02 WEAR AND EROSION B01 ELECTRICAL CONDUCTORS C26 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE D02 PETROLEUM PRODUCTS, LIQUID FUELS, AND LUBRICANTS D03 GASEOUS FUELS D05 COAL AND COKE D19 WATER D27 ELECTRICAL INSULATING LIQUIDS AND GASES D33 PROTECTIVE COATING AND LINING WORK FOR POWER GENERATION FACILITIES E10 NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY AND APPLICATIONS E44 SOLAR, GEOTHERMAL AND OTHER ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES E48 BIOENERGY AND INDUSTRIAL CHEMICALS FROM BIOMASS A01 STEEL, STAINLESS STEEL AND RELATED ALLOYS C01 CEMENT C09 CONCRETE AND CONCRETE AGGREGATES D02 PETROLEUM PRODUCTS, LIQUID FUELS, AND LUBRICANTS D03 GASEOUS FUELS D04 ROAD AND PAVING MATERIALS D15 ENGINE COOLANTS AND RELATED FLUIDS D18 SOIL AND ROCK D24 CARBON BLACK D35 GEOSYNTHETICS E12 COLOR AND APPEARANCE E17 VEHICLE - PAVEMENT SYSTEMS E21 SPACE SIMULATION AND APPLICATIONS OF SPACE TECHNOLOGY E36 ACCREDITATION & CERTIFICATION E57 3D IMAGING SYSTEMS F03 GASKETS F07 AEROSPACE AND AIRCRAFT F09 TIRES F16 FASTENERS F25 SHIPS AND MARINE TECHNOLOGY F37 LIGHT SPORT AIRCRAFT F38 UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS F39 AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS F41 UNMANNED MARITIME VEHICLE SYSTEMS (UMVS) F44 GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT F45 DRIVERLESS AUTOMATIC GUIDED INDUSTRIAL VEHICLES D10 PACKAGING D11 RUBBER E31 HEALTHCARE INFORMATICS E35 PESTICIDES, ANTIMICROBIALS, AND ALTERNATIVE CONTROL AGENTS E54 HOMELAND SECURITY APPLICATIONS E55 MANUFACTURE OF PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS E56 NANOTECHNOLOGY F02 FLEXIBLE BARRIER PACKAGING F04 MEDICAL AND SURGICAL MATERIALS AND DEVICES F29 ANESTHETIC AND RESPIRATORY EQUIPMENT F30 EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES G04 COMPATIBILITY AND SENSITIVITY OF MATERIALS IN OXYGEN ENRICHED ATMOSPHERES C07 LIME AND LIMESTONE D14 ADHESIVES D16 AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS AND RELATED CHEMICALS D20 PLASTICS D26 HALOGENATED ORGANIC SOLVENTS AND FIRE EXTINGUISHING AGENTS D28 ACTIVATED CARBON D32 CATALYSTS E13 MOLECULAR SPECTROSCOPY AND SEPARATION SCIENCE E15 INDUSTRIAL AND SPECIALTY CHEMICALS E27 HAZARD POTENTIAL OF CHEMICALS E35 PESTICIDES, ANTIMICROBIALS, AND ALTERNATIVE CONTROL AGENTS F40 DECLARABLE SUBSTANCES IN MATERIALS E11 QUALITY AND STATISTICS E36 ACCREDITATION & CERTIFICATION E43 SI PRACTICE E55 MANUFACTURE OF PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS E56 NANOTECHNOLOGY F42 ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGIES
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PlainTalk

PlainTalk

A Partnership in the Public Interest

Supporting a Model that Works

On Jan. 3, a Congressional bill entitled “The Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty and Job Creation Act of 2011,” H.R. 2845, was signed into law by President Obama.

Section 24 of the bill says that the secretary of transportation “may not issue guidance or a regulation… that incorporates by reference any documents or portions thereof unless the documents or portions thereof are made available to the public, free of charge, on an Internet website.” At present, approximately 60 ASTM International standards are referenced by PHMSA,1 as are standards from other standards developing organizations.

This legislation sets a troublesome precedent for ASTM International and others in the private sector standardization community. It is based on the old, uninformed, but persistent clamor for free standards, a production feat that requires a certain set of circumstances. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

Our plan of action right now in response to this legislation is to develop online, read-only access to ASTM standards referenced in the legislation. At the same time, ASTM International is encouraging agencies to reference voluntary consensus standards under the direction of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget Circular A-119,2 which requires that federal agencies “must observe and protect the rights of the copyright holder and any other similar obligations.” ASTM’s policy is that when a federal agency demonstrates a need for access to the intellectual property contained in an ASTM standard, it will work with that agency to meet reasonable needs, in line with the recommendations of the Administrative Conference of the United States and the National Science and Technology Council.3

But the concept in Section 24 of this piece of legislation goes to the heart of a larger matter. In the NTTAA4 annual report for fiscal year 2009, NIST5 identified over 8,400 citations of standards incorporated by reference in regulatory documents. More than 80 percent of these standards were developed by the private sector. In the Code of Federal Regulations, ASTM standards are listed nearly 3,000 times.6 ASTM International is the single most federally referenced SDO in the United States.

The U.S. federal government uses ASTM International standards prolifically for one simple reason: they are the best of their kind. ASTM standards are developed by a brain trust and a pool of experts that is broad, diverse and international. Small- and medium-sized enterprises make up about 50 percent of the ASTM membership. Consumers, engineers and scientists from countries large and small, government employees, researchers, academics and multinational company experts are all part of the talent bank. This, plus the statistical validation of test methods and the full consensus of all interested parties, gives the ASTM standard its inimitable quality and relevance.

Years ago, ASTM and other U.S.-based SDOs engaged in an agreement with the federal government7 that contained two important provisos: 1) in rulemaking and procurement activities, government agencies would rely on standards developed by private-sector standards developing organizations;8 and 2) government workers would participate in voluntary standards organizations when such participation is in the public interest. This partnership is the best of its kind in the world, a unique model of public-private cooperation and collaboration. It’s efficient, it’s transparent, it’s enormously cost-effective and it works.

For its part, ASTM was determined to make the standards developing process available and accessible, and by so doing, captured the world’s greatest talents, including those working within the federal government. It made a conscious decision not to charge large up-front fees and in so doing, keep its membership and participation affordable.9

To support itself and its process, ASTM decided to sell its standards. Not all standards developing organizations in the United States do it this way. Not all standards developers are full consensus organizations. Some are trade associations, and some are professional organizations whose members pay substantial fees for memberships, registrations and projects — fees that are large enough to support their organizations. They can, therefore, give their standards away for free.

The United States is a diverse mixture of SDOs. We don’t all fit in the same basket. But government participants are vital and necessary to the ASTM full consensus process and to the partnership. Our commitment was to make that partnership work by not erecting financial barriers to participation. Today, government employees are active in 93 percent of ASTM International’s technical committees.

This legislation is, therefore, a slippery slope, and perilous. The idea of free standards across the board is not in the public interest, nor is it based in reality, because nobody’s standards are free. The making of a standard is a complex process that involves, among other things, a professional staff, the housing and administration of the process, and cutting edge technology for broad participation and for the publishing and distribution of the documents. Standardization requires resources; it costs money. The U.S. system, recognizing that the standards community is diverse, leaves it to the individual organization to choose the method by which it will pay for the production of its standards.

What is in the public interest is a forum where standardization is available and accessible to all interested parties, a forum in which the U.S. government can sit alongside those it will regulate and those it will protect, and develop affordable standards10 for health and safety and a better environment. Our system grants everyone the opportunity to participate without barriers, without prerequisites and regardless of wealth or nationality. It mirrors this country’s most cherished ideals. Our government depends on it. It is part of it. Let us not see this kind of legislation repeated again and again until (as one government friend said to me) ASTM International, and organizations like it, succumbs to death by a thousand cuts.

References

1. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation.

2. OMB Circular A-119, Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities.

3. For more information, contact Jeff Grove, vice president, global policy and industry affairs, ASTM International, at jgrove@astm.org.

4. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act.

5. National Institute of Standards and Technology.

6. This figure includes procurement requirements.

7. See OMB Circular A-119.

8. Whenever feasible and consistent with law and regulation.

9. ASTM International membership is $75 a year for an individual. It often waives the fee for consumers and general interest participants. Technical experts who join ASTM through the national standards bodies with which ASTM has memorandums of understanding, as well as students, pay nothing.

10. For example, the ASTM toy safety standard, F963, Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety, a 68-page document, sells for $69.

James A. Thomas

President, ASTM International

This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.