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Don’t Stress: Standards Provide Relief during Stress Awareness Month

New York, Apr 21, 2009

Stress affects everyone, from students to homemakers to CEOs. To increase public understanding of the causes and cures of stress, The Health Resource Network (HRN) is sponsoring April Is Stress Awareness Month. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is proud to support the development of standards related to popular stress-relieving activities such as massage, exercise, and safe sun exposure.

High stress levels can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and many other illnesses, making stress relief a key component of emotional and physical health. One common way to relieve stress, especially after a long day of physical labor, is to get a massage. Household massage appliances are addressed in the International Standard IEC 60335-2-32 Ed. 4.1 b:2008, Household and similar electrical appliances - Safety - Part 2-32: Particular requirements for massage appliances. This document guides the safety of many varieties of home massagers, including foot and hand-held massagers, as well as massage beds, chairs, pads, and belts.

This standard was developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Technical Committee (TC) 61, Safety of household and similar electrical appliances. Secretariat duties for TC 61 are performed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an ANSI member and audited designator. UL also serves as the U.S. National Committee (USNC)-approved U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Administrator to TC 61, carrying U.S. positions forward to the committee.

Another common stress reliever is spending a few hours in the sun. Whether taking a trip to the local park or a vacation to a tropical island, enjoying the outdoors can melt away tension instantly. Sunglasses are an important element of these sunny excursions, protecting the eyes from damaging UV rays. ANSI Z80.3-2008, Nonprescription Sunglass and Fashion Eyewear Requirements, is an American National Standard that provides guidelines for recreational sunglasses, assuring the safety of consumers’ eyes as they soak up the sun.

ANSI Z80.3-2008 was developed by the Z80 ANSI-accredited Standards Committee. The Vision Council serves as the ANSI-accredited secretariat for this committee.

While lounging on a beach chair may be the best tension reliever for some, others prefer to get up and move. Exercise is a highly effective way to reduce stress levels, and standards are in place to assure safety and top performance. ASTM F1976-06, Standard Test Method for Cushioning Properties of Athletic Shoes Using an Impact Test, protects runners and other athletes from foot, ankle, and leg injuries caused by improper footwear. This standard was developed by ASTM International, an ANSI member and audited designator.

With these and many more methods of stress release available, standards can assure that safety is a top priority in managing stress in April and all year long.

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