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From the Editor’s Desk
Safety Redux

As 2003 nears its end, I look back over this year’s issues of SN and notice how much of its editorial content has been devoted to safety. From consumer products in March, to construction codes and standards in April, to nondestructive and mechanical testing in October, ensuring safety through standardization has been a frequent theme in this magazine this year.

Of course, the standards development community proudly considers public safety to be one of its main reasons for existing, so it’s no wonder you will always find this subject on the tips of our tongues, so to speak. The three features in this month’s issue offer yet more information on safety standards, and I guarantee you will find each one relevant to your daily life.

If you’re like millions of people with a car and an eye for beauty, you’ll be on the road this autumn taking in the annual color show provided courtesy of Mother Nature. But there’s another dazzling display of color whizzing by under your wheels that you may not be so inclined to notice. Thanks to tiny glass beads in the paint used for highway markings, daylight or the light from your headlights is reflected back to your eye, ensuring the visibility of road markings that keep you on the straight and narrow path. Standards developed by ASTM Committee D04 on Road and Paving Materials help ensure that the color of these markings are consistent both from region to region in the United States and from daytime to nighttime. See Wendy Ealding’s article for more on the complex and critical issues behind highway pavement markings.

Other marks on the pavement aren’t so positive. You can see cracks in highway asphalt caused by low temperatures on many highways, but thanks to three new standards developed by Committee D04, the incidence of thermal cracking can be reduced. In their article, Raj Dongré and John D’Angelo describe how these standards can positively impact the resistance of asphalt to thermal cracking by providing testing protocols and calculation practices for engineers specifying the purchase of asphalt binders.

Finally, I’m pleased to be able to offer an article written by our colleagues at Underwriters Laboratories. UL has been developing safety standards for 100 years now, and i n celebration of this, they have contributed an overview of their standards development program, which is now growing in international scope, and a sampling of some of the nearly 900 standards they have developed since 1903 for products you use every day, from fuses to appliances to telephone equipment. In a world filled with uncertainty, it’s good to know we can rely on standardization to provide some sense of safety and security.

Maryann Gorman
Editor in Chief

Copyright 2003, ASTM