The International Organization for Standards (ISO) was formed in 1949 to establish organizational working procedure and working groups to formulate international test standards for materials. In this work national government agencies have contributed largely to the ISO program (one notable exception being the United States.) Recent expansion has been in product performance, air quality, and reference materials. The ISO is organized via a council formed by three elected officers and 14 member organizations. An executive committee handles administrative duties and a general assembly of all member organizations is the working body. An appointed Secretary-General is the chief executive of ISO. A plenary meeting held every three years constitutes the ISO working meeting.
ISO standards are originated as working documents from a small working group or task group. Upon approval by a subcommittee the document becomes a draft proposal and is given an identification number. After approval by the technical committee, the proposal becomes a draft international standard (DIS). This document is published as an international standard after ratification by 75 percent of the general assembly voters. At present there are 160 active ISO technical committees, 550 subcommittees and over 1000 working groups or task groups. The ferroalloys technical committee (TC 132) functions in three subcommittee areas: SC-1 Sampling, SC-2 Chemical Analyses, and SC-3 Specifications. As of 1980, twenty-seven proposed standards for ferroalloys are in various stages of development.