ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Voluntary Standards Cover the Spectrum: From Fireplaces to Toys


New York, Dec 13, 2002

In an effort to communicate the vital role that standards play in daily life, ANSI Online News will publish, on an ongoing basis, a series of snapshots of the diverse standards initiatives undertaken in the global and national standards arena, many of which are performed by ANSI members and ANSI-accredited standards developers. Two of the latest selections follow:

Fireplaces

On a cold winter night, many people long for the warm glow of a fire. As the fireplace remains a primary focal point in many homes - though now for aesthetic reasons rather than functionality - there are some practical considerations to keep in mind, especially around the holidays.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer, created an American National Standard for Factory Built Fireplaces (ANS/UL 127-1998) that will help to keep winter nights warm, cozy and safe. The requirements set forth in the UL standard cover factory-built fireplaces intended to be operated either open to a room or equipped with doors (operational with the doors either open or closed) and include the fire chamber, chimney, roof assembly, and other related parts. The fireplaces covered by these requirements are entirely factory-made and intended for unit assembly in the field according to the American National Standard for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents and Solid-Fuel Burning Appliances (ANSI/NFPA 211-2000) developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), also an ANSI member and accredited standards developer. The fireplaces are then installed in accordance with codes such as the BOCA Basic/National Code, the Standard Mechanical Code, and the Uniform Building Code.

Toys

Whether it's the latest high-tech video game or something as timeless as a stuffed animal, nothing puts a smile on a child's face faster than a new toy - especially those received during the holiday season. Unfortunately, a day of fun and laughter can quickly turn sour if those toys are not up to par. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), reports that more than 191,000 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries in 2000 alone.

With the creation of a comprehensive voluntary toy safety standard in 1971, the Toy Industry Association (TIA), an ANSI-member, led the charge for toy safety standards by developing a comprehensive voluntary safety standard with its government and industry partners. Since then ASTM International, another ANSI member and accredited standards developer, has taken over responsibility of the American National Standard (ASTM F963-96ae2, Standard Consumer Safety Specification on Toy Safety).

This ANS covers specifications relating to possible hazards that are not recognized readily by the public and can be encountered in normal toy use. It does not cover every conceivable hazard of a particular toy, except for those related to safety. Except for the labeling requirements pointing out the functional hazards and age range for which the toy is intended, this specification has no requirements for those aspects of a toy that present an inherent and recognized hazard as part of the function of the toy. This specification covers requirements and contains test methods for toys intended for use by children in age groups through 14 years.

This "standards snapshot" was made possible by the steady stream of press information disseminated by standards developing organizations to keep the ANSI Federation abreast of their achievements. As the Institute receives news of published voluntary standards and voluntary standards initiatives with broad appeal and impact, similar articles will be posted to the ANSI Online News page. Please continue to forward your updates to the Communications and Public Relations department at (f) 212.398.0023 or (e) pr@ansi.org. For additional information on the wide array of standards applications, see the Media Tips and Case Studies section of the Institute's website.

AN INTRODUCTION TO STANDARDS: WHY, WHERE AND HOW ARE THEY DEVELOPED?