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Voluntary Standards Help Keep New Year’s Resolutions on Track

New York, Jan 04, 2007

This is the time of year we look back on the past and pin down goals and aspirations for the future. Voluntary standards underpin many of the tools we use to achieve personal goals in the New Year.

Battle the Bulge
After the long string of holiday feasts and festivities, many holiday revelers identify ‘the battle of the bulge’ as a top and pressing priority. For most, this means putting down the fork, cutting back on portions, and leaving leftovers for another meal. A two-part standard from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) helps to ensure the safety of dinnerware commonly used to store food and beverages. ISO 6486-2:1999, Ceramic ware, glass-ceramic ware and glass dinnerware in contact with food -- Release of lead and cadmium -- Part 1: Test method, details a test method for the measuring the release of lead and cadmium from ceramic, glass and ceramic-glass dinnerware used in the preparation, cooking, serving and storage of food and drinks. Part two of the standard, Permissible limits, specifies the maximum allowable limits for the release of these metals in common dinner- and storage- ware.

Hoping to maintain a properly-balanced diet, many people will look to dietary supplements to make sure that they are in step with a healthy nutritional regime. NSF International recently released an updated version of NSF/ANSI 173-06, Dietary supplements. This American National Standard for dietary supplements helps manufacturers ensure that their supplements and their ingredients are not adulterated with contaminants and are labeled accurately. The standard includes limits for contaminants, criteria for verifying the quantity of active ingredients, and requirements for compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices and label requirements.

Fit in Fitness
Many Americans report listing ‘getting in shape’ among their top goals for the year. At home or the gym, exercise machines can help people to stay fit and heart-healthy. A standard from ANSI-accredited ASTM International helps to ensure the safety and stability of treadmills. ASTM F2106-03, Standard Test Methods for Evaluating Design and Performance Characteristics of Motorized Treadmills, specifies procedures and equipment used for testing and evaluating for compliance to ASTM’s specification for motorized treadmills, F2115-05. The test methods contained in F2106 evaluate both design and performance characteristics, including stability, endurance, overheating, and user interface, among other important factors.

Another ANSI-accredited developer, Underwriters Laboratories, lends a helping hand with UL 1647-2004, Motor-Operated Massage and Exercise Machines, the American National Standard that covers safety requirements for stationary bicycles and other motor-operated exercise machines. After a thorough workout, exercisers can rest easy, knowing that the standard includes requirements for vibrating and massaging chairs. The standard also stipulates accordance with the National Electrical Code, NFPA 70, from the National Fire Protection Association.

Connect with Family and Friends
Another leading resolution for many people this year is to reconnect with loved ones that live far away. Increasingly, friends and family are looking to web cam and other internet-based videoconferencing technology to link up.

In recent years, Internet Protocol, or IP-based videoteleconferencing (VTC) has emerged as a common communications interface that enables a rich, multimedia environment for ‘live’ video interaction. ITU-T, the standardization arm of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has developed an umbrella recommendation to support IP-based VTC technology. Accessible to anyone with a high speed Internet connection, ITU H.323 defines the protocols that enable audio-visual communication on a packet network. The standard is currently implemented by various Internet real-time applications and is also commonly used in voice-over IP (VoIP, Internet Telephony, or IP Telephony).

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