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 June 2005 From the Editor's Desk
E-mail Maryann Gorman

Wanted: Standards for Regulatory Compliance

Recent and anticipated international legislation regarding the safety of substances in manufactured products has an admirable goal: the reduction, if notoutright elimination, of toxic materials in the waste stream. Industry, and the testing labs that measure quantities of substances in end-use products, know they must comply with international regulations that restrict the use of toxic or potentially toxic substances. It will cost money and it won’t be easy, but they’re ready to get on board.

Almost ready. The first things needed to comply with the ambitious regulation contained in some directives recently promulgated by the European Union, and in pending legislation from Canada, China, Japan, the United States and other countries, are standard test methods. The legislation enacted thus far has not provided adequate reference to existing standards or promulgated necessary new ones in order for manufacturers to measure and declare their compliance.

Enter new ASTM International Committee F40 on Declarable Substances in Materials. ASTM has been working with manufacturers across a very wide variety of industry sectors, as well as with representatives of mining interests, independent laboratories, trade associations, government, and consulting firms, to bring together an international group of stakeholders that will “assist global industry with issues surrounding compliance with legislation involving the regulation of substances in materials,” according to Tim McGrady, a principal scientist with IMR Test Labs, chairman of the new committee, and author of the lead feature article in this issue.

McGrady’s and the other articles in this issue cover a few of the many sectors participating in F40. The number of products impacted by just one piece of legislation, EU Directive 2002/95/EC on Restriction of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment, is breathtaking. Household appliances, information technology and telecom equipment, lighting, electrical and electronic tools, and toys are just some of the products that manufacturers must prove, by July 1, 2006, are free of substances such as mercury, cadmium, lead, hexavalent chromium, and more.

Compliance with such legislation is complex, involving the proper definition and understanding of basic testing parameters such as material homogeneity, maximum concentration values, and methods of rounding test data. The founders of Committee F40 have recognized the lack of guidance provided, on these and other issues, in existing legislation. The new committee’s goal is to be a resource for the development of standards deemed necessary by those industries when seeking to prove conformity with substance regulation. I invite you to learn more about the committee with the feature section in this issue.

Maryann Gorman
Editor in Chief

To ASTM International Members: I invite you to participate in an online survey that will help the staff of SN serve you better. Please take a few minutes to fill out a reader survey or keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming e-mail from ASTM International that will direct you to the survey. Your input is important to the success of our survey and to creating the best member magazine possible. Thank you.

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