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January/February 2009

News of the ASTM International
Board of Directors

ASTM International’s board of directors last met Oct. 20-22, 2008, at ASTM International headquarters in West Conshohocken, Pa. The following is a summary of reports made and actions taken at those meetings.

For further details on any of the following topics, contact ASTM President James A. Thomas, ASTM, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, P.O. Box C700, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959 (phone: 610-832-9598).

Finance and Audit Committee

The board of directors unanimously appointed Kenneth Yarosh to serve as chairman of the 2009 Finance and Audit Committee on the recommendation of the Nominating Committee. Yarosh is an associate scientist and Americas sealants science and technology manager for Dow Corning Corp., Midland, Mich. He is active on ASTM Committees C24 on Building Seals and Sealants, D14 on Adhesives and E06 on Performance of Buildings. He is the recipient of several awards from Committee C24, including the Award of Merit in 2005. He has been a member of the ASTM board of directors since 2006.

ASTM International in Europe

In 2008, the ASTM board committed resources to engaging representation in Europe to help enhance the recognition and use of ASTM standards there. Jeffrey Grove, ASTM vice president of global policy and industry affairs, reported that ASTM staff held dozens of meetings in 2008 with members of the European Parliament and the European Commission, multinational companies and trade associations, and consumer groups. These meetings have helped raise the visibility of important ASTM standards connected to toy and cigarette safety and have helped staff better understand the worldwide adoption of ASTM standards in the context of legal and institutional frameworks and regulatory policies in the European Union. Based on its outreach in 2008, Grove reported, staff will continue to create awareness of ASTM standards within governing and regulatory bodies in Europe and maintain the valuable relationships it has established.

Proposed Bylaws Revision

The board unanimously approved revisions to the ASTM Bylaws addressing the nominating committee procedures and updating various operational provisions to reflect current board practices. These bylaw revisions will be open for discussion at the 2009 Annual Business Meeting in May. See the ASTM Business Meeting news item here.

Washington, D.C., Outreach

Grove reported on a number of activities of the Washington, D.C., office involving federal and state legislation, regulations, international trade issues regarding standards, and corporate outreach to industry and trade associations.

  • Toy Safety: The Consumer Product Safety Modernization Act was signed into law in August 2008 as Public Law 110-314. The law establishes ASTM F963, Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety, as a mandatory rule and instructs the Consumer Product Safety Commission to adopt by regulation any future revisions to the standard. The measure is an interim rule as CPSC is tasked to evaluate the effectiveness of F963 and issue mandatory standards during a future rulemaking to ensure the “highest levels of product safety.” The law also requires that toys sold in the U.S. be tested by accredited testing bodies to mandatory safety standards(including ASTM F963).
  • Gasoline containers: Congress also enacted a new law requiring all portable gasoline containers sold in the U.S. to have child-resistant caps that meet ASTM F2517, Specification for Determination of Child Resistance of Portable Fuel Containers for Consumer Use. The new law includes a provision that allows for the automatic update in regulation upon any revision to the standard published by ASTM.
  • Biodiesel: Public Law 110-140, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, created a government imposed deadline of Dec. 17, 2008, for ASTM International to publish two separate specifications for diesel fuel containing 5 and 20 percent biodiesel. ASTM Committee D02 on Petroleum Products and Lubricants met the deadline with the publication of D975-08a, Specification for Diesel Fuel Oils, and ASTM D7467-08, Specification for Diesel Fuel Oil, Biodiesel Blend (B6 to B20).
  • Resin code: ASTM Committee D20 on Plastics is actively involved in transferring maintenance and future revisions of the Society of the Plastics Industry Resin Code to ASTM. The code has been in existence since 1988 and offers a means of identifying the resin content of bottles and rigid containers. ASTM staff has begun to work with SPI on an outreach strategy to the United States and to other countries; the SPI code is currently in use in the United Kingdom and China.

Global Outreach

Teresa Cendrowska, ASTM International vice president of global cooperation, reported on activities in several programs under her direction.

  • Memorandums of Understanding: The national standards bodies that have signed agreements since the April board meeting include those of Bahrain and Pakistan. An agreement has also been signed with the Southern African Development Community – Cooperation in Standardization, a regional community of 15 southern African nations. Currently, 4,228 ASTM standards from 110 ASTM technical committees are reported as being used by nations other than the United States (including MOU signatories and others).
  • Standards Expert Exchange Program: From Sept. 22 through Oct. 17, 2008, ASTM hosted two standards experts, Patricia Castro Espinoza from the Instituto Nacional de Defensa de la Competencia y de la Protección de la Propiedad Intelectual (INDECOPI), the Peruvian national standards body, and Kim Jun-Ho from the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS), the Korean national standards body. Through the program both experts received detailed training about ASTM, visited the October committee week and agencies in Washington, D.C., participated in virtual meetings with experts in their home nations and made presentations about standardization in their respective nations to ASTM staff.
  • Technical assistance program: In 2008, 10 technical assistance programs serving 14 memorandum of understanding signatories took place. The programs’ varied topics included petroleum, statistics, textiles, concrete and cement, and risk-based corrective action for chemical releases. Working with representatives in Mexico and Peru, Cendrowska’s division has conducted a train-the-trainer program for the concrete and cement course so that the program can now be provided by Spanish-speaking instructors.
  • Coordinated programs: In addition to the technical programs noted, five coordinated training programs with a broader scope of instruction were conducted in 2008 with China, Ecuador, Russia, the five nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council Standardization Organization (GSO) and the Qatar General Organization for Standards and Metrology (QS).
  • Latin America: Cendrowska’s division continues to work with ASTM International’s representative in Mexico, Luis Felipe Ordóñez, to actively engage in meetings and events in Mexico that can help with the recognition of ASTM standards in such key areas as concrete and cement, the pharmaceutical and related sectors, and thermal insulation. Staff have also been present at an industry event for the construction industry in Colombia and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Peru.
  • Standards in Trade: ASTM continues to work closely with the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Standards in Trade workshop program, having presented at workshops on alternative energies for China and fire protection for Vietnam.
  • India: In 2008, ASTM conducted a market analysis of the awareness and acceptance of its standards in six sectors in India: energy, metals, textiles, plastics, cement and concrete, and chemicals. Staff will follow up on the results with outreach activities in 2009.

Academic Outreach

James Olshefsky, director of external relations, reported on ASTM’s ongoing work in reaching out to the academic sector.

  • Student membership: As of September 2008, student membership totaled almost 3,700. More than 60 percent of student members study in institutions outside the United States.
  • WISE internship: In 2008, ASTM International was one of six societies to sponsor an intern in the Washington Internship for Students of Engineering program. ASTM’s intern for 2008, James M. Bryce, worked closely with ASTM members from Committee D18 on Soil and Rock to develop a paper entitled “Developing Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure: Exploring the Development and Implementation of a Green Highway Rating System.”
  • Year of the Professor: 2009 begins with a new promotion focused on educators, the Year of the Professor, that will provide them with resources and encouragement to incorporate standards into their course materials.
  • Graduate scholarship program: The board unanimously approved funding for a new ASTM International graduate scholarship. The objective of the scholarship program is to enhance a student’s knowledge, understanding and application of ASTM International and its standards. The scholarship will be presented each year, beginning in 2009, to as many as four graduate students enrolled in master’s or doctoral programs in accredited institutions who have demonstrated high levels of interest or involvement with ASTM standards.

Corporate Communications

Director of Corporate Communications Barbara Schindler reported on the activities of her department.

  • Advantage Award: The second annual Advantage Award paper competition was held in 2008; winning papers, which show the breadth of ASTM standardization, appeared in the November/December 2008 issue of SN.
  • ASTM’s influence in sports: During the 2008 Olympics in Beijing,
    China, the ASTM home page featured daily short features on the safety benefits of ASTM standards for helmets, gymnastics equipment, athletic footwear, pole vaulting and many other activities related to sports and fitness. Links to the relevant ASTM technical committees, subcommittees and standards were included in each daily segment.
  • Multilingual press releases: A new effort is under way to make ASTM news releases available in additional languages. Once translated, select news releases will be sent to global distribution lists that will be developed; they will also be posted in the ASTM “News Releases” online, which will be newly enabled to support a variety of language symbols.

Committee on Publications

The board unanimously approved the ASTM Committee on Publications’ nomination of George E. Totten, Ph.D., for his work on Fuels and Lubricants Handbook: Technology, Properties, Performance and Testing, for the 2008 Charles B. Dudley Award, ASTM’s highest publication award. In its nomination, the COP acknowledged the handbook as a “life’s defining work” for Totten and states that the guide is “a comprehensive, in-depth, well-referenced handbook that provides a detailed overview of all of the important ASTM and non-ASTM fuels and lubricants test procedures.” Totten is president of G.E. Totten and Associates and an associate research professor at Portland State University. He has been an active member of Committee D02 on Petroleum Products and Lubricants since 1988.

Technical Committee Operations

Katharine Morgan, vice president of technical committee operations, reported on the following activities in her division.

  • Units project: The Technical Committee Operations division has been reviewing all 12,000 ASTM standards for compliance to ASTM form and style guidance on units. Technical committees have received portfolios showing their standards’ compliance and work has begun on bringing standards into compliance and transitioning to the International System of Units where desired.
  • New committees: The board approved the formation of two new technical committees: E58 on Forensic Engineering and E60 on Sustainability.