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 September 2005 ASTM International News

Chinese Delegation Visits ASTM International
James Thomas Meets with U.S. Rep about Furniture Tipover
Declarable Substances Workshop
FDA Recognizes ASTM Medical Standards
Mauritius, Guatemala Sign MOUs with ASTM International
Thai Delegation Visits ASTM International
Training Program to Begin in Taiwan

SAC Delegation Visits ASTM International Headquarters

On July 13-14, a delegation of standards executives from China visited ASTM International Headquarters. The group consisted of Li Zhonghai, the administrator of the Standard Administration of China (SAC); representatives from the State General Administration for Quality Supervision and Inspection and Quarantine of China (AQSIQ); and members of the Chinese State Council. The purpose of the delegation’s visit was to learn about the U.S. standards process and how voluntary standards are used in U.S. regulations in the United States, as China is in the process of reviewing and changing its standardization law. The visit to ASTM International was part of the delegation’s broader mission to visit standards developing organizations in the United States and Canada. //

Shown in the center are James Thomas, president, ASTM International and Li Zhonghai, administrator of SAC, on a delegation visit to ASTM International headquarters on July 14.

ASTM International President Meets with U.S. Representative about Furniture Tipover Standards

ASTM International President James Thomas met with U.S. Representative Allyson Y. Schwartz (D-Pa.) in July to discuss the efforts of ASTM Subcommittee F15.42 to help prevent injuries associated with furniture tipover accidents. Thomas and Schwartz focused on proposals to revise and strengthen ASTM standard F 2057, Safety Specification for Chests, Door Chests and Dressers, as well as legislation authored by Schwartz that would set federal furniture safety guidelines.

The revisions to Specification F 2057 include expansion of the standard to include other furniture components including armoires, entertainment centers and shelving units; clarification of the test method; enhancement of the warning labels and the addition of a requirement to include restrainers to allow consumers to attach furniture to a wall. Specification F 2057 is under the jurisdiction of ASTM Committee F15 on Consumer Products.

In April 2005, Rep. Schwartz introduced H.R. 1861, a bill that would require that all furniture in danger of tipping bear warning labels and come packaged with anchoring devices so it can be secured to a wall. The legislation closely tracks proposed revisions to Specification F 2057 currently under consideration. The primary difference is that F 2057 is a voluntary consensus standard while H.R. 1861 requires mandatory compliance.

“I am pleased with the steps that ASTM International is taking and I look forward to continuing to work with industry to improve the safety of America’s households,” said Schwartz. “Their efforts coupled with enactment of my legislation would ensure that all parents are adequately informed of the dangers posed by un-secure furniture and would have the appropriate tools to protect themselves and their children.”

President Thomas said, “ASTM International’s standards have and continue to play a preeminent role in reducing injuries and fatalities based on identified hazards in the usage and performance of many consumer and household products. We share Rep. Schwartz’s goal of addressing the hazards associated with furniture tipover and welcome all interested stakeholders to work with us in our efforts to develop voluntary consensus standards.” //

ASTM President James Thomas met with U.S. Representative Allyson Y. Schwartz to discuss standards and legislation relating to furniture tipover.

Technical Issues Facing ASTM International Committee on Declarable Substances in Materials to Be Among Topics of NIST Workshop

Technical issues in test methods and reference materials identified by ASTM Committee F40 on Declarable Substances in Materials will be among the topics discussed at a workshop hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in October. The goal of the workshop is to assist U.S. manufacturers and their supply chains in meeting new environmental regulations that restrict the use of hazardous substances in electronics and a wide range of consumer products.

An urgent challenge faced by U.S. industry is compliance with the European Union Directive on Restriction of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS), effective July 2006. RoHS restricts lead (widely used in solder), mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium (used to inhibit corrosion), and polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants (in plastic housings of electrical appliances).

The goals of the NIST workshop are to assess the measurement and standards needs of industry as they respond to the restrictions, and to collaboratively produce a plan that addresses international standards issues and helps U.S. manufacturers access the global market. ASTM Committee F40, founded in 2005, addresses issues related to the development of standards for the evaluation of materials and products relative to RoHS (and similar) requirements.

The Restricted Substances in Materials: Testing and Reporting Procedures Workshop will be held at the NIST campus in Gaithersburg, Md., Oct. 5-7. //

Technical Information:
Michael Baum, NIST, Gaithersburg, Md.
Phone: 301/975-2763

ASTM staff: Pat Picariello
Phone: 610/832-9720

Upcoming F40 Meeting: Nov. 9-11, November Committee Week, Dallas, Texas

U.S. FDA Recognizes ASTM Medical Standards

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Devices and Radiological Health has added nine ASTM International standards to the list of FDA-recognized consensus standards. The added standards are under the jurisdiction of Committee F29 on Anesthetic and Respiratory Equipment.

Section 204 of the FDA Modernization Act of 1997 (FDAMA) (Public Law 105-115), amended section 514 of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 360d), allows FDA to recognize consensus standards developed by international and national organizations, for use in satisfying portions of device premarket review submissions or other requirements. Click here for more information regarding recognitions and exceptions to these standards. //

Mauritius, Guatemala Sign Memorandums of Understanding with ASTM International

Mauritius and Guatemala are among the countries whose national standards bodies have most recently signed memorandums of understanding with ASTM International.

An MOU was signed by James Thomas, ASTM International president, and Asraf Ali Caunhye, director, Mauritius Standards Bureau, in June.

In August, ASTM International signed an MOU with the Comisión Guatemalteca de Normas. ASTM President Thomas and Guatemala Minister of Economy Marcio Ronaldo Cuevas Quezada signed the MOU in Guatemala. At the time of the signing, Quezada had just returned from Washington, D.C., where he was one of the signers of the new Central America Free Trade Agreement.

The purpose of ASTM International’s MOU program is to promote communication between ASTM International and national standards bodies; promote knowledge of each other’s standards development activities; facilitate greater worldwide participation in the ASTM standards development process; and facilitate the development of national standards that will aid each country’s health, safety, environmental and economic conditions. //

As television cameras film the event, Marcio Ronaldo Cuevas Quezada, Guatemala minister of economy, and James Thomas, ASTM International president, sign a memorandum of understanding.

Thai Standards Officials Meet with ASTM International

In July 2005, a delegation of standards officials from the Thai Industrial Standards Institute of the Ministry of Industry met in Washington, D.C., with ASTM International staff members Kitty Kono and Jeff Grove. The visiting group included representatives of the Royal Thai Embassy. While the meeting was part of TISI’s broader mission to visit standards developing organizations and government agencies in the U.S., it provided an opportunity to discuss how ASTM International’s voluntary standards are used in government regulations in the U.S. and around the world. Other meeting topics included increasing participation from Thailand in ASTM International’s standards development activities and the importance of including provisions requiring the recognition and acceptance of international standards based on the principles outlined in the World Trade Organization’s Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement as part of the current bilateral negations of the U.S.-Thailand Free Trade Agreement. //

Training Program to Begin in Taiwan

ASTM International has signed an agreement with Guan-Cheng Environ-Tech Protection Co. Ltd. to deliver ASTM Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessment and Risk- Based Corrective Action courses in Tainan, Taiwan. Courses will be offered in Chinese following GCEP instructor training in October. GCEP, an environmental engineering and consulting firm in Taiwan, is ASTM’s seventh international training partner. Training partners organize and advertise ASTM courses in their countries and deliver the training in the native language of the country. //

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