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Our Standards Are All Around You
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 March 2006 From the Editor's Desk
E-mail Maryann Gorman

Our Standards Are All Around You

On a continuing basis, the staff of ASTM International donates its time and financial assistance to the local community around West Conshohocken, Pa., where our headquarters are located. In an effort to
explain our unique specialty in a few words to the local citizens we work with, we use the tagline “Standards Are All Around Us.”

Now I know that SN’s readers understand standards on other levels — as documents of metrology and commerce, as enablers of technology advancement. But in this issue, we kick back and look in at standards from another point on the circle — as documents that promote the public welfare.

The public welfare refers to your health, safety and comfort in all the roles you play in your daily life. As a homeowner, you want to know that the components of your house and your utility supply will be safe, durable and reliable. When you travel by plane or automobile, you hope for, and usually get, a trip without incident. In your leisure time, you and your kids rely on your bikes to be sturdy. And if the worst should happen in any of these environments, you’ll expect the best and most prepared search and rescue professionals your town can provide.

You guessed it — for every one of these examples, there’s a set of ASTM standards, and they are highlighted in this issue. There’s the work of Subcommittee D20.24 on Plastic Building Products, which standardizes vinyl siding. Those standards are part of the Vinyl Siding Institute’s certification programs for installers and trainers. ASTM Committee E06 has a subcommittee devoted to helping building managers, consultants, contractors, and government agencies identify, evaluate, and control lead hazards. Utility and electrical workers are kept safe because of clothing and equipment standards written by Committee F18 on Electrical Protective Equipment for Workers.

Then there’s the aviation fuel standards developed by Committee D02 on Petroleum Products and Lubricants, which are used to ensure safe refueling at airports around the globe. For travel on terra firma, standards under the jurisdiction of Committee D04 on Road and Paving Materials help ensure the best materials and processes for highway and street construction. To keep you on the straight and narrow when you ride your bike, the standards of Subcommittee F08.10 on Bicycles go beyond federal regulation to create a safety net of test methods, specs, and classifications. And finally, Committee F32 on Search and Rescue has written a full complement of standards for the management and execution of search and rescue operations.

Of course, this is just the slenderest sampling of the many ASTM International standards that protect and promote the public welfare. But I think reading this month’s feature section will give you the right idea: standards are indeed all around us.

Maryann Gorman
Editor in Chief

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