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From the Editor's Desk
Let the Buyer Be Assured

In the United States, the official Consumer Confidence Index is based on monthly surveys of consumers’ opinions of the current and future status of the national economy and of their own income. But there is another way to look at the term “consumer confidence.” When consumers purchase in an environment in which compliance to standards is the norm, their confidence in product quality and safety rises. And standards are fundamental contributors to this kind of consumer confidence. Without standardization, consumers must rely on hearsay and even, at times, unscrupulous marketing practices; true confidence is replaced by mere hope that a given product is safe for use. But adherence to standards, as well as marketing based on certification, empowers buyers with a very specific set of expectations.

With members in 20 countries, from Hong Kong to Sweden to the United States, ASTM Committee F15 on Consumer Products has been hard at work for 30 years doing its part to improve consumer confidence and safety. The committee is populated with an impressive array of stakeholders, from retail giants and manufacturers to government representatives and internationally known and respected trade and consumer groups. These participants often take on requests for standards development from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an independent federal agency mandated to assess reports of potentially dangerous consumer products and regulate them. In recent years, the committee has seen remarkable growth. Since 1997, F15 has added subcommittees on bedrails; infant products; playground equipment for children under two; candle products; fire suppression towels; fire ladders; swimming pool, spa and hot tub safety; scooters; firearm locking devices; brooms and mops; shopping carts; and commercial cribs.

I’d like to invite you to check out this issue for articles featuring just a few of the reasons why ASTM is a part of your daily life. To whet your appetite, start with the photo feature “The Standards Calendar.” There you’ll find timely examples of how standards, from several of ASTM’s 130 technical committees, positively impact your life every day and year ’round. Then look to the rest of the feature section for just a sampling of F15’s contribution to the world of end-product consumer standards — standards that give you the kind of consumer confidence you might not even realize you have.

Maryann Gorman
Editor in Chief

Copyright 2003, ASTM

Contact Maryann Gorman